The World Health Organisation(WHO) has issued an alert over the use of some Indian manufactured cough syrup following the death of some 66 children in the Gambia.
According to the WHO, the syrups have been “potentially linked with acute kidney injuries and 66 deaths among children”.
The products were manufactured by an Indian company, Maiden Pharmaceuticals, which had failed to provide guarantees about their safety.
The WHO identified the medicines as Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup.
The four products had been identified in The Gambia, but “may have been distributed, through informal markets, to other countries or regions”, the WHO added, in the alert published on its website.
It warned that their use may result in serious injury or death, especially among children. There has not been any reaction from the pharmaceutical company.
Gambia suspends sale of paracetamol syrup
In July, medical authorities in The Gambia detected an increase in cases of acute kidney injury among children under the age of five.
The Gambia’s government has since suspended the use of all paracetamol syrups and has urged people to use tablets instead.
The WHO said that laboratory analysis of samples of the products “confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants”.
The substances were toxic, and their effects “can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state and acute kidney injury which may lead to death,” it added.
The Gambia’s health officials said last month that dozens of children had died, without giving an exact number.
The WHO said that India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation indicated that the manufacturer may have only supplied the contaminated medications to The Gambia, AFP news agency reports, quoting an email from the UN health agency.
But the WHO said that “global exposure” was possible as the “manufacturer may have used the same contaminated material in other products and distributed them locally or exported” them.