Gambia cough syrup scandal: Police investigate deaths linked to medicine

By Omar Wally – Banjul, The Gambia (BBC)

Musa Kuyateh was one of the 66 children who died after taken the cough syrup

Police in The Gambia have started an investigation into the deaths of 66 children, which have been linked to four brands of imported cough syrup.

Senior officials from the Medicine Control Agency and the importers have been called for questioning, the president’s office said.

President Adama Barrow said that the authorities would “leave no stone unturned” in the investigation.

Gambians, angry about what happened, are wondering who is to blame.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a global alert over the four cough syrups – warning they could be linked to acute kidney injuries and the children’s deaths in July, August and September.

Bereaved parents have told the BBC how their children stopped being able to pass urine after being given the syrups. As their condition worsened, efforts to save their lives were fruitless.

The products – Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup – were manufactured by an Indian company, Maiden Pharmaceuticals, which had failed to provide guarantees about their safety, the WHO said.

The Indian government is also investigating the situation. The firm has not responded to a BBC request for comment.

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