The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an alert in October saying four pediatric syrups, manufactured by the Haryana-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals, were potentially linked to the deaths of 70 children in Africa’s Gambia.
The WHO said two toxins – diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol – were found in the syrups at ‘unacceptable levels’.
The Indian drug regulator Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) launched an investigation into the incident and in December, cleared the company and said no toxins were found in the control samples.
The Wire accessed a report from a Swiss lab where the WHO had sent samples. The report said DEG was found in all four products ranging between 1-21%. This was more than enough to cause deaths in children, going by past precedents of mass DEG poisoning.
The Wire’s findings were confirmed in a parliamentary probe of Gambia, which was initiated in October. In its report, the Gambian parliamentary committee held Maiden Pharmaceuticals culpable and accountable for the deaths. It said the firm flouted rules related to good manufacturing practices and the DEG present in its products was responsible for the children’s deaths.
It demanded legal action against the company. But will the Indian government react to this demand of Gambia? Watch this video.