The World Health Organization has said that a batch of contaminated India-made cough syrup has been found in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia. The WHO said that the tested samples of Guaifenesin TG syrup, made by Punjab-based QP Pharmachem Ltd, showed "unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol”. Both compounds are toxic to humans and could be fatal if consumed. The drug was brought to WHO’s attention earlier in April. This marks the latest in a series of medicines manufactured by India-based pharmaceutical firms and distributed in different countries that are alleged to be of poor quality and potentially harmful to consume. WHO however has to specifically say if any deaths or injuries were linked to Guaifenesin.
The toxic chemicals found in Guaifenesin have also been found in cough syrups in other countries as well.
The chemicals were discovered in large quantities in four syrups sold in Gambia. The deaths of 69 children late 2022 were linked to the use of the syrups manufactured in India.
India is the world’s largest exporter of generic drugs, meeting much of the medical needs of developing countries.
Although in recent times, several Indian companies have come under investigation regarding the quality of their drugs, with experts expressing concerns about the manufacturing practices used to produce theses medicines.