REPORT: WHO investigating links between cough syrup and children’s deaths

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As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service on the internet, DML News App offers the following information published by REUTERS.COM:

Jan 24 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating whether there is any connection between manufacturers whose contaminated cough syrups it has linked to the deaths of more than 300 children in three countries, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Citing “unacceptable levels” of toxins in the products, the WHO is seeking more information about the specific raw materials used by six manufacturers in India and Indonesia to produce medicines linked to the recent deaths, as well as whether the companies obtained them from some of the same suppliers, the person said. The WHO has not named any suppliers.

The WHO also is considering whether to advise families globally to reassess the use of cough syrups for children in general while questions over the safety of some of these products are unresolved, the person said. WHO experts are evaluating the evidence for whether, or when, such products are medically necessary for children, the person said.


The report explains that multiple children died from acute kidney injury starting in July 2022 in Gambia.  Additional cases then occurred in Indonesia and Uzbekistan.

The children’s deaths were reportedly “linked to over-the-counter cough syrups the children took for common illnesses and which contained a known toxin, either diethylene glycol or ethylene glycol,” Reuters wrote.

Six drugmakers who produced the cough syrups are located in India and Indonesia.

In a series of Twitter posts on Tuesday, the World Health Organization announced:

“Over the past 4 months, several countries have reported incidents of contaminated cough syrups for children. Last year, WHO raised the alarm by issuing medical alerts in Oct focused on the #Gambia, in Nov about #Indonesia, and earlier this month regarding #Uzbekistan”- @DrTedros

“These contaminants are toxic chemicals used as industrial solvents and antifreeze agents that can be fatal even in small amounts, and should never be found in medicines”- @DrTedros

“This week, WHO released an urgent call for countries, manufacturers and suppliers to do more to prevent, detect and respond quickly to contaminated medicines”- @DrTedros

“Governments must increase surveillance so they can detect and remove from circulation any substandard medicines identified in the WHO medical alerts”-
@DrTedros

“They must also enforce legal measures to help stop the manufacture, distribution and use of substandard and falsified medicines”- @DrTedros

“Manufacturers must purchase pharmaceutical grade ingredients from qualified suppliers and conduct comprehensive testing before using them”- @DrTedros

“Suppliers must always check for signs of contaminated medicines and only distribute or sell medicines authorized by, and from sources approved by, competent authorities” – @DrTedros

“All unnecessary deaths hurt but when children die that pain is magnified and demands a requisite response”- @DrTedros

To get more information about this article, please visit REUTERS.COM.

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