India awaits WHO information on cough syrup link to Gambia deaths

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India is awaiting World Health Organisation (WHO) evidence of a link between an Indian cough syrup that allegedly caused the deaths of dozens of children in Gambia

The UN agency had said that the medicine could cause kidney damage, two Indian officials said on Thursday.

The death of 66 children in the West African country is a blow to India’s image as a pharmacy of the world that supplies medicines to all continents, especially Africa.

“Urgent investigation in the matter has already taken up immediately after receiving communication from WHO based on the available information,’’ said one of two health ministry staff members who spoke to Reuters on behalf of the ministry.

The staff member, however, did not want to be identified.

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“While all required steps will be taken in the matter’’, India was awaiting a report establishing “causal relation to death with the medical products in question’’ and other details from WHO.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus earlier on Wednesday told reporters that  the UN agency was investigating the deaths from acute kidney injuries with India’s drug regulator and New Delhi-based cough syrup manufacturer Maiden Pharmaceuticals.

The UN health agency informed the Drugs Controller General of India of the deaths late last month after which the regulator launched an investigation with state authorities, in tandem with the WHO, the two sources said.(Reuters/NAN)

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