WHO calls for motion following cough syrup deaths

The World Health Organization has referred to as for “instant and concerted motion” to guard youngsters from contaminated medicines after a spate of kid deaths linked to cough syrups final yr.

In 2022, greater than 300 youngsters — primarily aged underneath 5 — within the Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan died of acute kidney harm, in deaths that have been related to contaminated medicines, the WHO stated in an announcement on Monday.

The medicines, over-the-counter cough syrups, had excessive ranges of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.

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“These contaminants are poisonous chemical compounds used as industrial solvents and antifreeze brokers that may be deadly even taken in small quantities, and will by no means be present in medicines,” the WHO stated.

In addition to the nations above, the WHO told Reuters on Monday that the Philippines, Timor Leste, Senegal and Cambodia could probably be impacted as a result of they could have the medicines on sale. It referred to as for motion throughout its 194 member states to forestall extra deaths.

India's Marion Biotech was one of multiple pharmaceutical companies distributing medicines linked to a recent global spike in child deaths.

India’s Marion Biotech was considered one of a number of pharmaceutical firms distributing medicines linked to a current world spike in little one deaths. (REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis)

“Since these usually are not remoted incidents, WHO calls on numerous key stakeholders engaged within the medical provide chain to take instant and coordinated motion,” WHO stated.

The WHO has already despatched particular product alerts in October and earlier this month, asking for the medicines to be faraway from the cabinets, for cough syrups made by India’s Maiden Pharmaceuticals and Marion Biotech, that are linked with deaths in Gambia and Uzbekistan respectively.

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It additionally issued a warning final yr for cough syrups made by 4 Indonesian producers, PT Yarindo Farmatama, PT Common Pharmaceutical, PT Konimex and PT AFI Pharma, that have been offered domestically.

The businesses concerned have both denied that their merchandise have been contaminated or declined to remark whereas investigations are ongoing.

The WHO reiterated its name for the merchandise flagged above to be faraway from circulation, and referred to as extra extensively for nations to make sure that any medicines on the market are authorized by competent authorities. It additionally requested governments and regulators to assign sources to examine producers, enhance market surveillance and take motion the place required.

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It referred to as on producers to solely purchase uncooked elements from certified suppliers, check their merchandise extra totally and hold data of the method. Suppliers and distributors ought to examine for indicators of falsification and solely distribute or promote medicines authorised to be used, the WHO added.

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