The deadly cough syrups are Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup, manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited (Haryana, India).
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has notified Healthcare providers and the public of the death of 66 children in Gambia following the use of these four substandard cough syrups as reported by WHO in September 2022.
Laboratory analysis of samples of the four products confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants, which are fatal.
NAFDAC in a statement by its Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, said laboratory analysis of samples of the four products confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants. Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans when consumed and can prove fatal.
Toxic effects can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.
The statement reads, “To date, the stated manufacturer has not provided guarantees to WHO on the safety and quality of these products.
“All batches of these products listed above should be considered unsafe. The substandard products in this alert are unsafe and their use, especially in children, may result in serious injury or death. The products are not registered by NAFDAC, therefore should not be in circulation.
“To date, these four products have been identified in The Gambia, but may have been distributed, through informal markets, to other countries or regions.”
The agency, therefore, advised importers, distributors, retailers and consumers to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale and use of the substandard cough syrups. All medical products must be obtained from authorized/licensed suppliers.