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Cough Syrup Suspected In Gambia Deaths Clean: Health Ministry Sources


WHO said the syrups made by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd were substandard.

New Delhi:

Cough syrups from a Haryana-based firm that allegedly caused deaths of around 70 children in Gambia, has passed all tests, sources in Union Health Ministry told NDTV today. The investigation was conducted by a government Task Force, headed by pharmacology chief Dr YK Gupta. “If any question or communication comes from the Gambia government, we will also reply according to our report,” sources said. The Gambian government said on Friday that they are consulting a US law firm regarding legal action against two Indian firms that supplied the medicine.

“The government is currently benefiting from legal advice from a top tier international law firm,” the Gambian government was quoted as saying in a statement by news agency Reuters.

Sources said the “government there may have its own findings, we did not find any problem here”.

The Indian government has done a complete investigation regarding Maiden Pharma. “The investigation did not find anything that was wrong. Controlled samples kept at the manufacturing unit of cough syrup passed the test. All four syrup samples passed,” sources said.

At least 70 children in Gambia — most under the age of 5 years — died from acute kidney injury last year. A government-backed investigation found that the deaths were “very likely” caused by contaminated medicines made in India.

In October last year, the World Health Organization issued an alert saying four cough syrups being supplied to Gambia by the India-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd were of substandard quality.

In March, a joint probe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US and the Gambian health authorities suggested a strong link between the deaths and the cough syrups.

“This investigation strongly suggests that medications (were) contaminated with Diethylene Glycol [DEG] or Ethylene Glycol [EG],” the CDC had said.

In February, Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar told the Lok Sabha that after testing, the samples of the cough syrups were declared to be of standard quality. The samples were found to be negative for both Diethylene Glycol (DEG) and Ethylene Glycol (EG), the minister had said in a written reply to a question.

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