WHO warns of drug: 66 children die after taking cough syrup

In West Africa's Gambia, at least 66 children die of kidney failure within a short space of time.

WHO warns of drug: 66 children die after taking cough syrup

In West Africa's Gambia, at least 66 children die of kidney failure within a short space of time. Shortly before they died, they were given cold medicines from an Indian manufacturer. The World Health Organization warns against the use of the drugs worldwide.

At least 66 children have died in The Gambia after ingesting cough and cold syrups. As the World Health Organization (WHO) announced, the deaths in the West African country could be related to contaminated products from the Indian company Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited. According to the WHO, the cough and cold syrups sold in Gambia are suspected of causing acute kidney failure and the death of the children, as the WHO announced in Geneva.

Laboratory analyzes of four Maiden cough syrups have confirmed "unacceptable" and toxic levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which can lead to acute kidney damage, the WHO said. These substances are used in antifreeze, brake fluid and other industrial applications, but also as a cheaper alternative in some pharmaceutical products.

The Gambian health authorities called for the suspected cough and cold syrups to no longer be prescribed. According to them, the children affected by kidney failure were under five years old. According to a report by the AP news agency, the authorities and the Red Cross mobilized hundreds of helpers who went door to door to secure the medicines.

According to the WHO, it is investigating the incident in cooperation with the manufacturer Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited and Indian authorities. It cannot be ruled out that the drugs in question were also used in other countries.

The Indian Ministry of Health announced that it was examining samples of the cough syrups. Indian authorities also asked the WHO to provide information on the precise link between the deaths and the syrup. According to the ministry, the Indian manufacturing company only has a permit to produce the cough syrups for export and they have only exported them to Gambia. The Indian manufacturer has not yet been available for comment. India is known as the pharmacy of the world and produces many medicines inexpensively, especially for poorer countries.

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