The World Health Organization (WHO) will investigate a series of incidents involving contaminated cough syrups linked to the deaths of more than 300 young children in three countries. Most of the children were under five years old. The investigation must show whether there is a connection between the manufacturers who produced the cough syrups.
The WHO is investigating which raw materials were used by manufacturers in India and Indonesia after “unacceptable levels” of toxins were found. It is also being investigated whether the manufacturers obtained these raw materials from the same suppliers.
The first deaths were in Gambia in July 2022, when 66 young children died of acute kidney damage. The children are said to have all taken Maiden Pharmaceuticals cough syrup. Later, 99 young children in Indonesia and 18 children in Uzbekistan died of acute kidney injury. The WHO issued an international warning after tests showed that the cough medicines Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup contained harmful substances. These are diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which can cause serious kidney damage in children. (NRC)
A version of this article also appeared in the January 25, 2023 newspaper