Cough syrup kills 33 in Pakistan

LAHORE: Pakistani authorities are investigating cough syrup believed to have killed 33 people in eastern Pakistan in the past three days.

  • Published: 29/12/2012 at 05:46 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

Abdul Jabbar Shaheen said on Saturday that 54 other people being treated at hospitals in the city of Gujranwala were also believed to have consumed the syrup. He said those involved were thought to be labourers or drug addicts who drank the syrup to get high.

Shaheen said chemical samples collected from the victims' stomachs contained dextromethorphan, a synthetic morphine derivative used in cough syrup that can have mind-altering effects if consumed in large quantities.

Shaheen said it was being investigated whether the people affected by the syrup in Gujranwala drank too much of it, or whether there was a problem with the medicine itself.

Twenty-three people died in the nearby city of Lahore in November after drinking bad cough syrup sold under the brand name Tyno. They were also described at the time as people who consumed the drug to get high.

Shaheen said the cough syrup involved in the incidents in and around Gujranwala was not sold under a single brand. He said there were some people in the city involved in the business of making cough syrup specifically to sell to drug addicts, and officials were trying to arrest the culprits.

Officials temporarily closed one Lahore-based pharmaceutical company whose cough syrup was found in the possession of some of those affected in Gujranwala and were investigating whether it caused any of the deaths, said Shaheen.

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