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India Investigates Gambia Deaths Linked to Local Cough Syrup

Map of India
Map of India

Indian officials Thursday said the south Asian nation would investigate alleged links between a locally made cough syrup and the death of dozens of children in Gambia following an alert that was issued by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.

Indian health authorities Thursday said an investigation has already started into alleged links between a cough syrup developed by New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals and the death of 66 Gambian children.

“An urgent investigation in the matter has been already taken up,” said a health ministry official who chose to remain unidentified, adding, “This happened immediately after receiving communication from WHO based on the available information.”

The accused Maiden’s Director, Naresh Kumar Goyal, said information on the alleged links was brought to their attention on Thursday.

“We are trying to find out the situation because it cropped up only today,” said Goyal.

“We are trying to find out with the buyer and all that what has happened exactly,” said the Maiden director, adding, “We are not selling anything in India.”

Medical experts say the deaths of 66 children in the west African nation would be a blow to India’s brand of being the “pharmacy of the world,” that develops and ship medicine to worldwide, especially to Africa.

The World Health Organization’s Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Wednesday told reporters that the U.N. agency looking into the deaths that resulted from acute kidney injuries, in a joint investigation with India’s drug regulator and the drug maker.