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‘No substantial evidence to link Gambia deaths with syrup’, Health News, ET HealthWorld

A committee set up by India to investigate the “mysterious deaths” of children in Gambia The blame on cough syrups made by an Indian company has not found any “substantial evidence” for establishing causality between the medicine and the deaths, people in the know told ET.

The committee, formed by the Indian government under noted pharmacologist YK Gupta, submitted its report to the drug regulator and the ministry of health This month, the people said.

“The committee held 6-7 meetings but did not find enough evidence to find any link between both. The WHO was even asked to send the causality assessment report, but they informed that it was not their domain area,” said one of the people. .

'No substantial proof to link Gambia deaths with syrup'
Out of the 23 samples that were tested by the World Health Organization, reports of only a few were shared with Indian authorities. “The reports of 17 samples or so were never disclosed. It’s difficult to pinpoint if the cough syrups resulted in the deaths,” said the person.

The WHO had earlier said that the tests of cough syrups in Ghana and Switzerland confirmed excess levels of ethylene and diethylene in children’s medicines that were available in Gambia.

“These substances are dangerous and should not be in any medicine, ever,” WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said in response to an email from ET.

According to the Indian government, the Central Drug Laboratory that conducted quality tests on the samples lifted from Sonepat-based Maiden Pharmaceuticalswhich had manufactured the cough syrups, had found the products to be in compliance with prescribed specifications.

The WHO had on October 5 announced that the deaths of dozens of children in Gambia from acute kidney injuries might be linked to contaminated cough and cold syrups made by an Indian drug manufacturer.

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