Gambia police investigate deaths linked to Indian cough syrup

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Banjul, Oct 9 (IANS) Police in Gambia are investigating the deaths of 66 children, which have been linked to four brands of imported Indian cough syrup, the media reported.

Senior officials from the Medicine Control Agency and the importers have been called for questioning, the President’s Office said, the BBC reported.

President Adama Barrow said that the authorities would “leave no stone unturned” in the investigation, the BBC reported.

Gambians, angry about what happened, are wondering who is to blame.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a global alert over the four cough syrups — warning they could be linked to acute kidney injuries and the children’s deaths in July, August and September, the BBC reported.

The products – Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup – were manufactured by an Indian company, Maiden Pharmaceuticals, which had failed to provide guarantees about their safety, the WHO said.

The Indian government is also investigating the situation.

Gambian health officials and Red Cross workers are now going door to door, as well as to pharmacies and markets, searching for the syrups as well as other medicines.

More than 16,000 products have been located so far and have been taken away for destruction, a Red Cross official told the BBC.

On Friday, President Adama Barrow addressed the nation, expressing his regret for the loss of life saying that “the source of the contaminated drugs” would be investigated.

He announced plans to open a laboratory capable of testing whether medicines are safe and a review of relevant laws and guidelines for imported drugs.

–IANS

san/pgh

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