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India takes action against pharmaceutical companies blamed for Gambia cough syrup deaths

India, a major drugs exporting country has said that it has taken action against pharmaceutical companies blamed for deaths of children in the West African county of The Gambian and Uzbekistan last year as a result of cough syrups manufactured in India.


India's Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, says regulators have taken action against more than 100 pharmaceutical companies in response to deaths linked to cough syrups last year.


Indian-made cough medicine was blamed for dozens of child deaths in The Gambia and Uzbekistan. The Gambia’s Ministry of Health and the Indian state came under intense pressure to take action against companies culpable for the cough syrup child deaths. 

“After inspections of manufacturing plants, the minister said production had been stopped at 31 companies. Product licences have been cancelled or suspended at a further 50 firms.” according to BBC.

The Indian government has previously said it would make tests mandatory for cough syrups before they were exported.


India sees itself as the pharmacy of the world, with exports of medicines last year worth more than $24bn (£18.6bn), BBC reported.

It remains to be seen what the government of The Gambia will do in the wake of India’s move, banning and cancelling drug manufacturing licences of the companies that are believed to be responsible for production of unsafe drugs exported out of India to developing countries like The Gambia.


In April this year, President Barrow received the report of the enquiry into the Acute Kidney Injury outbreak set up in 2022 to probe the circumstances leading to the deaths of children due to the cough syrup.

President Barrow receiving the report from the task force into the cough syrup deaths

Receiving the report at the time, President Barrow commended members of the task force, assured them that the government will study the report and act on the recommendations. 




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