By Krishna N. Das
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India awaits the World Health Organization for evidence of a link between Indian cough syrup and the deaths of dozens of children in the Gambia after the United Nations agency said it was The drug can cause kidney damage, two Indian officials said on Thursday.
The death of 66 children in the West African country is a blow to India’s image as a “pharmacy of the world” that supplies medicines to all continents, especially Africa.
“An urgent investigation into this matter was launched … immediately after receiving contact from WHO based on available information,” one of the two Health Ministry staff members spoke to Reuters but did not want to. identified.
“While all mandatory steps will be taken in this regard,” India is awaiting a report identifying a “causal relationship leading to death with the medical products in question” and the More details from WHO.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday told reporters that the United Nations agency was investigating the deaths from acute kidney injury with India’s drug regulator and the cement maker. – cough syrup Maiden Pharmaceuticals is headquartered in New Delhi.
The United Nations health agency informed India’s Narcotics Control-General of the deaths late last month, after which the regulator opened an investigation with state agencies, in parallel. with WHO, two sources said.
The WHO said laboratory analysis of Maiden cough syrup confirmed “unacceptable” amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which can be toxic and lead to acute kidney injury.
Phone calls to a listed number for Maiden, which began operations in November 1990, were unanswered as well as an email request for comment. Calls to India’s Directorate of Narcotics Control also went unanswered.
Maiden produces and exports syrup only to Gambia, Indian ministry sources said. Maiden says on its website that it has two manufacturing plants, in Kundli and Panipat, both near New Delhi in Haryana state, and has recently set up another.
It has an annual production capacity of 2.2 million bottles of syrup, 600 million capsules, 18 million injections, 300,000 ampoules of ointment, and 1.2 billion tablets. It said it sells its products domestically and exports to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Two sources with the Ministry of Health said that importing countries often test such products before allowing them to be used.
WHO said Maiden’s products – Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup – may have been distributed elsewhere through unofficial markets but it was only identified in the Gambia.