Gambian panel recommends Maiden Pharmaceuticals be held culpable for cough syrup
A parliamentary committee in the Gambia has recommended prosecution of the Indian pharma manufacturer Maiden Pharmaceuticals, as it has sold contaminated medicine that is believed to be linked to the deaths of at least 70 children in the Gambia.
In October 2022, WHO issued a global alert advising regulators to stop the sale of the cough syrups, after the deaths of children in the Gambia from acute kidney failure were linked to Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup, all manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals.
After testing, the medicines were found to be contaminated with diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, both of which are toxic to humans and can be fatal if consumed.
The committee has said it “is convinced that Maiden Pharmaceuticals [is] culpable and should be held accountable for exporting the contaminated medicines … The findings remain the same with the previous reports which indicates that Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup were contaminated with diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.”
It has recommended tough measures, such as the banning of all Maiden Pharmaceutical products in the country, and legal action against the company. It also wants the country’s Medicine Control Agency to ensure all imported medicines are properly registered and manufacturers receive background checks, including visits to their facilities.
The panel’s report also revealed inadequacies in the country’s healthcare system, and has urged the government to strengthen it and provide better equipment and medicines in hospitals.
Maiden Pharmaceuticals continues to deny all allegations.
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