Global alert over cough medicines following numerous deaths

Global alert over cough medicines following numerous deaths

Cough syrup - Image Maiden Pharmaceuticals

A global alert has been issued over cough medicines made in India that have led to the death of at least 66 children in the Gambia.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief said on Thursday, October 6 that the deaths are “beyond heart-breaking”.

Produced by the company Maiden Pharmaceuticals, the syrups have been “potentially linked with acute kidney injuries and 66 deaths among children” according to the WHO. The company it said, had failed to conduct the proper checks and to provide the requisite guarantees.

The medicines in question are Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup.

Although the cough syrups were sent to The Gambia, it is believed that they may have been sent elsewhere either by the company or through middlemen.

A popular tourist destination it is also very possible that visitors have bought the medicines and taken them back with them to their home countries in Africa and Europe.

The medicines are said to be very dangerous and can lead to serious injury or death, especially among children.

As a result of the incident, the Gambia has suspended the sale of all paracetamol suspensions until further notice.

Laboratory tests conducted by the WHO show that samples of the products contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol. The effect of these substances includes abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.

Although the distribution of the medicine would appear to be limited a global alert has been issued over cough medicines given its potential to kill users.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at