WHO issues alert over another India-made syrup, flags' substandard' quality

Deaths due to toxic cough syrups first made headlines in October when the WHO issued a global alert for four such medicines manufactured in India

Indian syrup, WHO, syrup, Iraq

BS Web Team New Delhi

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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday issued an alert about a batch of common cold syrup manufactured in India, saying that it was of substandard quality.

This was the fifth time in the last year that the global health body issued such an alert concerning syrups made in India.

Latest toxic syrup case

The latest alert from the WHO concerned a batch of the 'Cold Out' syrup that Fourrts (India) Laboratories manufactured for an Indian company called Dabilife Pharma. 

According to WHO, samples from the batch that were obtained in Iraq were found to contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants.

Ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol can cause vomiting, convulsions, affect the circulatory system and cause acute renal failure. 

The WHO further said the acceptable safety limit for ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol is no more than 0.10 per cent.

The health body added that neither the manufacturer nor the marketer of the common cold syrup has provided guarantees to it about the safety of the product.

"To date, the stated manufacturer and the marketer have not provided guarantees to WHO on the safety and quality of the product," WHO said.

However, Iraqi authorities have not yet reported any illnesses due to Cold Out, reported Bloomberg. 

Last week, the country's health ministry announced that the cold syrup had failed tests conducted by the authorities and that products circulating in the market were being confiscated.

Deaths due to toxic cough syrups first made headlines in October when the WHO issued a global alert for four medicines manufactured by the Haryana-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals. 

This came after the authorities in Gambia linked 66 deaths, most due to acute kidney failure, to the four medicines.

In December, WHO advised against using two cough syrups made by the Indian pharmaceutical company Marion Biotech after Uzbekistan's health ministry reported that 18 children died after consuming the Dok 1 Max syrup manufactured by the company.

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In April, another Indian drugmaker was also found by the world health body to have exported contaminated cough syrup to the Marshall Islands and Micronesia. The cough syrup was manufactured in Punjab by QP Pharmachem Limited and marketed by Trillium Pharma in Haryana.

First Published: Aug 08 2023 | 2:19 PM IST

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