Minister: Gambia hires US legal firm to investigate dangerous Indian cough medicine.


The justice minister said that Gambia has hired a law company in the United States to consider legal action after a government-backed investigation indicated that contaminated Indian medications “very likely” killed children last year.

Between June and October, 70 Gambia children, the majority of whom were under the age of five, died as a result of serious kidney injury.

Local doctors suspected Indian cough syrups, and WHO testing confirmed lethal toxins, sparking a global hunt for dangerous pharmaceuticals.

Dawda Jallow, the Gambian Justice Minister, said that the government was exploring legal action, the first indication of international litigation over the deaths. Jallow did not name the potential defendant or legal firm.

Maiden Pharmaceuticals, an Indian pharmaceutical company, has denied culpability for the children’s deaths. The lethal automotive brake fluid toxins diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG) were found in Maiden cough syrups, according to the WHO. India maintains that their drug testing found no pollutants.

The Indian Ministry of Health and Maiden both refused to comment on Gambia’s probable legal action. WHO declined to respond.

The Indian government said the WHO failed to prove a causal link between the Gambia deaths and denigrated its $41 billion pharmaceutical business. Cough syrups made by another Indian pharmaceutical company killed 19 Uzbek children. Cough syrup export drug testing is now required in India.

Cause and Effect Report

Gambia’s judicial ministry is considering its options after a government-commissioned causality inquiry by international experts, according to Jallow.

Experts assessed 56 individuals with acute renal injury. 22 people died “very likely” from DEG or EG poisoning after consuming Maiden products.

Another 30 cases were “highly suggestive” of DEG and EG homicides, but the panel was unable to corroborate them. In four other cases, there was inadequate proof.

Only two patients had autopsy. Both exhibited DEG and EG poisoning disorders, according to the research. Only Maiden’s medicine was listed as toxic.

Some pharmaceutical manufacturing experts believe that unscrupulous actors may use DEG and EG as low-cost alternatives for propylene glycol, a crucial component in syrupy drugs.

It’s the latest in a months-long investigation into the deaths, which has raised concerns among global health experts about lax oversight in India’s pharmaceutical industry and worldwide control of pharmaceutical raw materials. The Gambia and other India-supplied countries are unable to test imported pharmaceuticals.

The World Health Organization is examining poisoned cough syrups in Gambia, Uzbekistan, and other countries, but it is impeded by a lack of information about Maiden’s goods. The intermediary for those drugs is unclear.

Minister Dawda said that Gambia’s causality assessment and recommendations from the Justice Ministry would be revealed within six months.

The World Bank will assist Gambia in establishing a drug testing facility.


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