WHO Calls for Action to Protect Children from Contaminated Medicines

In view of the rising fatalities among children linked to cough syrups and medicines made by Indian and Indonesian pharma firms, the WHO has issued an “urgent call to action to countries to detect and respond to incidents of falsified medical products and protect children from contaminated medicines.

The top health body highlighted the deaths reported by several countries over the past four months attributed to the use of cough syrups with high levels of diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG). Around 3 countries have reported more than 700 deaths in cases pertaining to the cough syrup conundrum. At least 7 countries have reported fatailities in children majorly under 5 years. The WHO said the contaminants are toxic chemicals used as industrial solvents and antifreeze agents that can be fatal even in small amounts, and should never be found inmedicines.

Earlier this month, the WHO issued an alert to warn against the use of two substandard cough syrups manufactured by Marion Biotech, India that have been linked to the deaths of 18 children in Uzbekistan. Since October last year, the WHO has issued three global medical alerts over substandard paediatric medicines and syrups.

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