India is investigating the deaths of dozens of children in The Gambia that the World Health Organization (WHO) said may be linked to a cough syrup made in the South Asian nation, two people from India’s health ministry have told the Reuters news agency.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday told reporters the UN agency was investigating the deaths from acute kidney injuries with India’s drug regulator and New Delhi-based cough syrup manufacturer Maiden Pharmaceuticals.
The agency informed the Drugs Controller General of India of the deaths late last month, after which the regulator launched an investigation with state authorities in tandem with the WHO probe, the people said.
Maiden Pharmaceuticals manufactured and exported the syrup only to the West African nation, the people said.
Calls from Reuters to a listed telephone number for Maiden Pharmaceuticals went unanswered, as did an emailed request for comment. Calls to the Drugs Controller General of India outside of office hours also went unanswered.
India’s government has asked the WHO to share its report linking the deaths with the cough syrup and says it will take “all required steps in the matter,” the officials said.