WHO identifies over 20 medicines from India, Indonesia associated with 300 deaths

New Delhi/Jakarta, Jun 20 (EFE).- The World Health Organization (WHO) identified more than 20 pharmaceutical syrups from India and Indonesia that allegedly were behind the deaths of some 300 children in recent months in The Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan.

“To date this situation has impacted more than 20 products with 2 countries of origin (India & Indonesia) and more than 15 different manufacturers,” WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told EFE on Tuesday.

“All products are syrup-based (paracetamol syrup, cough syrup or vitamin syrup),” the official added, noting that further investigation into the matter was still underway.

Last year, the WHO issued several warnings for the presence of toxic components in medicines linked to the deaths of some 300 children in Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan.

Most of these deaths occurred in Indonesia, where the police announced in January that a local intermediary falsified and adulterated chemicals intended for industrial use to make them look like pharmaceutical products.

This is believed to have been the cause behind the death by poisoning of more than 200 children in the Asian archipelago.

Moreover, several contaminated syrups from India were linked to the deaths of at least 70 children in The Gambia and another 21 in Uzbekistan.

This led the Indian authorities to launch an investigation and ordered the suspension of the operations of the laboratories concerned.

“WHO is aware of media reporting of potentially contaminated syrups in other countries than those listed above. Whilst investigations are ongoing, WHO has not expanded its list of medical product alerts,” said Lindmeier.

Earlier this month, the Indian government tightened measures to ship medicines to other countries, making it mandatory for cough syrup exporters to test their samples in government laboratories before dispatch.

India has been dubbed as ‘the pharmacy of the world,’ due to its large-scale production of low-cost generic drugs and active components, besides having the second largest number of production plants approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), after the United States. EFE


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