WHO says that sick cough medicine made in India was found in the Western Pacific.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that contaminated cough syrup made by an Indian company was found in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia. This comes after a number of child deaths were linked to other syrups in some countries last year.
The WHO statement didn’t say if any children in the Marshall Islands or Micronesia had gotten sick.
But it said that samples of an imported cough syrup called Guaifenesin syrup TG syrup were contaminated with too much diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which are toxic to people and can kill them if they eat or drink it. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which is in charge of regulating products in Australia, found the contamination.
The new alert comes after the WHO sent out three similar warnings about toxic cough syrups for kids last year. These syrups, which were made by different companies in India and Indonesia, have been linked to the deaths of more than 300 children, mostly under 5 years old, in Gambia, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan. Most of these children died of acute kidney damage.
The WHO said that the drugs were made in India by QP Pharmachem Ltd, which is based in Punjab, and that Trillium Pharma, which is based in Haryana, was the company that sold them.
WHO said in a statement that neither QP Pharmachem nor Trillium has given guarantees about the safety and quality of these goods.
Sudhir Pathak, who is in charge of QP Pharmachem, told Reuters that a sample from the batch that was exported had been tested after the local state drug regulator asked about it.
“We thought it was fine, and the regulator agreed with us,” he said.
Pathak also said that the product is sold in India and that the company hasn’t gotten any complaints about it yet.
Pathak said that the Indian government had given QP Pharmachem permission to send 18,000 bottles of the syrup to Cambodia. How the goods got to the Marshall Islands and Micronesia was not clear.
Trillium Pharma did not reply right away when asked for a comment.
The WHO said that countries needed to step up their surveillance to find more contaminated goods.
Its head of bad medicines, Rutendo Kuwana, told Reuters earlier this month that it was working with countries to help test medicines when asked to do so. This came after it issued a global call to action in January to help stop more people from dying.
“We are trying to get samples and test them right now,” he said.