A state minister said that a Maiden Pharmaceuticals factory in India has stopped making cough syrup after a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that the medicine may have killed hundreds of children in The Gambia. Anil Vij, the state’s health minister, stated on Wednesday that the authorities investigated a Maiden plant located close to the city of Sonipat in the state and discovered 12 infractions of good standards. Vij said that there was an order to halt production.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported last week that laboratory analysis of four Maiden products, including Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup, found “unacceptable” amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol. It is known that these two chemicals are dangerous and can cause kidney damage quickly.
The Gambian police released a preliminary report on their investigation on Tuesday. It said that the deaths of 69 children from acute renal injury were caused by cough syrups made in India and imported by a business in the United States. Using medicines that come from India, which is often called the “pharmacy of the world,” is one of the worst things that can happen.
Online newspaper The Haryana drugs controller was quoted by Moneycontrol earlier as saying in a report that Maiden did not perform quality testing of propylene glycol, diethylene glycol, or ethylene glycol. Additionally, certain batches of propylene glycol did not have the manufacturing and expiration dates listed on the labels. Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are both used in antifreeze and brake fluids, as well as other industrial applications. But they are also used as a cheaper alternative to glycerine in some pharmaceutical products. Glycerine is used in many cough syrups as a solvent or thickening agent.
Executive Director of Maiden Naresh Kumar Goyal declined to respond. He told the news agency Reuters that the corporation was seeking to find out what had transpired in The Gambia from the company that had purchased the goods. Maiden says on its website that its three plants can make 1.2 billion tablets, 600 million capsules, 18 million injections, 300,000 tubes of ointment, and 2.2 million bottles of syrup each year.
It was stated that its products are sold domestically as well as exported to countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. India said that the cough syrups could only be sent to The Gambia, but the WHO thinks that they may have ended up in other countries through unofficial markets.
The health ministry of India stated the previous week that samples of all four Maiden products that had been exported to The Gambia had been sent to a federal laboratory for testing, and that the results would “guide the further course of action as well as bring clarity on the inputs received or to be received from WHO.” The tests were carried out last week. Requests for comments were not responded to by Indian health officials or the WHO.