FDA on alert for deadly cough syrup

FDA on alert for deadly cough syrup

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received a warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) about four Indian-made cough syrups linked to the deaths of 165 children who died in The Gambia and Indonesia.

The FDA said the products made by Maiden Pharmaceutical have not been imported to Thailand, but they are alert to the threat and are monitoring the issue.

Dr Surachok Tangwiwat, FAD deputy secretary-general, said the chemicals that contaminated the drugs can lead to death. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, urinary incontinence, headaches, altered mental states and kidney failure.

Dr Surachok added the WHO has banned four of the pharmaceutical company's cold and cough products: Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup.

"The FDA has not found the registration of such drugs in Thailand nor did it find sales available online. Also, there have not been any imports of medications produced by Maiden Pharmaceuticals," Dr Surachok said.

Gambian authorities reported in early September that dozens of young children died of kidney failure during June-August and that the cause was related to the cough syrups, Dr Surachok explained.

Lab tests indicated that the chemicals -- diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol -- found in the cough syrup caused the deaths of 66 children. The deaths occurred within a few days of consumption.

The Indonesian Public Health Ministry said that at least 99 children died after taking cough syrups produced by Maiden Pharmaceuticals.

Since January, 206 Indonesian children have suffered from acute kidney injury with most of them being under five years of age.

Anil Vij, the health minister for India's Haryana state, said the government has halted Maiden Pharmaceuticals' drug production.

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