Cough syrup scandal in Gambia: police look into drug-related fatalities

Police in The Gambia has opened an investigation into the 66 child deaths that have been connected to four different imported cough syrup brands.

According to the president’s office, senior figures from the Medicine Control Agency and the importers have been summoned for interrogation.

The administration, according to President Adama Barrow, would “leave no stone unturned” in the investigation.

Gambians are upset about what happened and trying to figure out who is to blame.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a global alert on the four cough syrups on Wednesday, cautioning that they may be responsible for the children’s deaths in July, August, and September as well as acute kidney injuries.

The products were made by an Indian company, Maiden Pharmaceuticals, and included Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup. The WHO claimed that Maiden Pharmaceuticals had failed to guarantee the products’ safety.

The situation is being looked into by the Indian government as well. A BBC request for comment has received no response from the company.

Red Cross volunteers and Gambian health officials are currently searching for syrups and other medications by going door to door, to markets and pharmacies, as well as in those locations.

The BBC was informed by a Red Cross representative that more than 16,000 products have so far been discovered and removed for destruction.

President Barrow apologized for the deaths and promised an investigation into “the source of the contaminated drugs” in his address to the nation on Friday.

In addition to plans to review pertinent laws and regulations for imported drugs, he announced plans to open a lab that can assess the safety of medications.

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