WHO Flags 7 India-Made Cough Syrups Allegedly Causing 300 Deaths Globally, links not yet confirmed !


New Delhi, TNI Bureau: The World Health Organization (WHO) is conducting a thorough investigation into the supply of contaminated cough syrups that have caused the deaths of more than 200 people worldwide. According to the WHO probe, seven cough syrup products manufactured in India and the remaining from Indonesia have been flagged as potentially toxic. This development comes after a comprehensive investigation conducted by the WHO on the matter, reported NDTV.

The cough syrups, produced by Haryana-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals, Marion Biotech, and QP Pharma Chem, were found to contain high levels of diethylene and ethylene glycol, which have been linked to the fatalities. The issue of substandard medicines originating from India gained attention when multiple deaths were reported in African countries after the consumption of cough syrup. Last year alone, more than 60 children in Gambia and around 20 in Uzbekistan lost their lives due to the consumption of contaminated medicines made in India.

In a recent update, Cameroon reported twelve deaths of children due to contaminated cough syrups, and health officials in the country have identified the manufacturer as Riemann Labs Pvt. Ltd. based in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India. However, Navin Bhatia, a director at Riemann, denied any possibility of manufacturing tainted medicine and suggested the presence of counterfeit products.

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Although the WHO has red-flagged seven Indian-manufactured cough syrups and is continuing its investigation into the contaminated medicines, it has yet to confirm a direct link between the Indian syrups and the deaths of over 300 individuals. The WHO spokesperson, Christian Lindmeier, stated that investigations with the affected countries are ongoing, and while they cannot confirm a link at present, they take reports of substandard and falsified medical products very seriously.

To date, over 20 products, originating from India and Indonesia, and manufactured by more than 15 different companies have been impacted by the issue. The WHO relies on its member states, regulatory agencies, and health ministries to share information and take appropriate actions based on the alerts issued by the organization.

The Indian government, in response to the concerns raised regarding the deaths caused by contaminated cough syrups, has reaffirmed its zero-tolerance policy on spurious medicines. Show-cause notices have been issued to 71 companies, and 18 of them have been asked to shut down. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya emphasized that extensive risk-based analysis is continuously carried out to ensure the production of quality medicines in the country, and the government is committed to preventing any fatalities due to counterfeit or substandard medications.

As the investigation unfolds, the WHO and national authorities will continue to assess the public health risk, communicate the findings to regulators and stakeholders, and work towards removing the contaminated products from circulation.

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