Indian drug firm ordered to halt production after mystery deaths in Cameroon

Indian drug firm ordered to halt production after mystery deaths in Cameroon

WHO has issued alerts in 4 cases of syrup products exported from India, Health Ministry informs parliament

​​​​​​​By Anadolu staff

ANKARA (AA) - Indian drug manufacturer Riemann Labs has been asked to halt production after its cough syrup was linked to a string of deaths among children in Cameroon.

In a written response to a lawmaker's question read out in parliament, the Indian Health Ministry said the World Health Organization (WHO) had issued alerts and asked for information on four cases of syrup products exported from India.

"Subsequent to the reports, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization in coordination with State Drug Controllers carried out joint investigations," the ministry said.

A joint inspection was conducted at Riemann Labs in the state of Madhya Pradesh and based on the findings the drug authorities directed the firm to stop manufacturing, the ministry said.

- Mystery deaths

Indian daily Mint reported in June that "more than a dozen children have passed away in Cameroon over the past few months with authorities linking it to a cough syrup potentially made in India."

India is in a fix after Indian-made cough syrups were linked to the deaths of dozens of children in foreign countries.

Last month, Indian drug regulators said that they have halted production at 31 firms after carrying out a thorough inspection and audit.

In April, WHO issued an alert regarding contaminated cough syrup made by an Indian company which it identified in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.

In March, Indian health authorities canceled the license of Marion Biotech after a cough syrup it manufactured was linked to the deaths of at least 19 children in Uzbekistan last year. Three persons have been arrested in the case.

In February, another Indian firm, Global Pharma Healthcare recalled its eye drops after the US flagged 55 cases of adverse effects, including one death.

The incident in Uzbekistan followed a similar case in Gambia in October last year when the WHO issued an alert for four contaminated medicines linked to acute kidney injuries and 66 child deaths.

The medicines were cough and cold syrups manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited in India. Subsequently, the firm was asked to halt manufacturing.

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