Alarm at the WHO after the 300 deaths of children from cough syrups

THE World Health Organization (WHO) investigates whether there is a link between the pharmaceutical companies whose cough syrups are allegedly responsible for the death more than 300 children in three countries, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Citing “unacceptable levels” of toxins in the formulations linked to child deaths, the WHO is asking for more information on the raw materials used by six pharmaceutical companies in India and Indonesia for their production, as well as whether the companies bought these raw materials from the same suppliers.

Him July 2022 deaths of children from acute renal failure were reported for the first time in The Gambia, while similar cases were subsequently reported in Indonesia and Uzbekistan. The WHO has pointed out that the deaths are linked to giving children cough syrups that contained dangerous substances: diethylene glycol or ethylene glycol.

Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are substances widely used as antifreeze and in brake fluids and other industrial applications, as well as a cheaper alternative to glycerin in some pharmaceutical products. In large amounts diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol can be toxic and lead to kidney failure.

So far, the WHO has identified six pharmaceutical companies in India and Indonesia that manufacture these syrups.

“It’s a top priority for us not to see any more child deaths from something that we can easily prevent.”said Margaret Harris a WHO representative, without commenting further.

On Monday, the WHO said it had expanded its investigation to four countries where the same syrups may have been sold: Cambodia, the Philippines, East Timor and Senegal. He also called on other governments and the global pharmaceutical industry to launch urgent investigations to identify suspect formulations, but also to tighten the regulatory framework for drug manufacturing.

THE UN agency has already issued warnings about cough syrups made by two Indian companies, Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Marion Biotech in October 2022 and earlier this month. He pointed out that these syrups are linked to the deaths of children in Gambia and Uzbekistan, while asking citizens to stop using them.

Meanwhile, the WHO issued a warning in October about cough syrups made by four Indonesian companies and sold only in the country.

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