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Gambia kids’ deaths: Panel calls for prosecution of Indian pharma firm

Cough syrups made by the Indian company are suspected to be the cause of the deaths of at least 70 children.

Following a slew of deaths after consumption of cough syrups made by an Indian company, a parliamentary committee in The Gambia has called for prosecution of Maiden Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer based in India. The cough syrups made by the company are suspected of causing the deaths of at least 70 children.

The call for prosecution comes post many weeks of probe into the tragedy. The parliamentary committee of The Gambia has stated that the authorities need to undertake strict measures against the Indian manufacturer. These, according to the pane, include call for a ban on all products from Maiden Pharmaceuticals in the country, and also initiation of legal proceedings against it.

Going by the words of the parliamentary committee, the findings align with the earlier reports that the Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup made by the company had been contaminated with diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.

Zero concern for people’s health

This, in fact, is serious, and the deaths of at least 70 children prove the fraudulent practices undertaken by the company with just profit motive and absolutely zero concern for people’s health. It is common knowledge that diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol could prove fatal to human beings when consumed. However, according to The Gambian parliamentary panel, the exact scientific cause of the children’s deaths was still under investigation and has to be ascertained.

Calling upon the Gambian Medicine Control Agency to make sure that all medicines imported into the country are properly registered, it demanded that proper background checks need to conducted on manufacturers. The facilities run by these manufacturers are also to be visited before allowing them to sell their drugs in the country, it added.

Deaths expose Gambian health scene

The death of 70 children after consuming cough syrup has also exposed the shortcomings in The Gambia’s healthcare environment. With all inadequacies now being discussed in the open, the country will have to bring in stringent measures to safeguard the health of its citizens. And the measures would involve keeping companies that do not abide by the norms.

The Gambia government will have to ensure that these measures are followed. Further, the administration will also have to strengthen the country’s healthcare scenario by bringing in better equipment and medicines that would ensure the health of its people.

It was in July this year that reports of kids’ deaths had taken headline space after they had been administered cough syrups. The children had suffered acute kidney injury, which led to their death. The WHO probed into the issue and found that four medicines from Maiden Pharmaceuticals were potentially linked to the deaths of the Gambian children. However, Maiden Pharmaceuticals denied the allegations.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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