WHO Calls for "Urgent Action" Following Three Global Medical Alerts and Deaths Related to Cough Syrup


India Today Web Desk    24 January 2023

In order to combat tainted drugs, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for "rapid and comprehensive action." In a statement released on Monday, the WHO stated that over 300 children, mostly under the age of five, died of acute renal injury as a result of tainted medications in the countries of Gambia, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan.


The medicines were over-the-counter cough syrups, and they included a sizable amount of ethylene and diethylene glycol. Since these occurrences are not a singular case, WHO urged all significant parties involved in the medical supply chain to act quickly and in concert.


Over the past four months, several countries have reported a number of cases involving childrens over-the-counter cough syrups that were confirmed or suspected to have excessive levels of diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG) contamination. As a result, the WHO has urged countries and regulatory agencies to check medical items mentioned as potential causes of death and disease in the aforementioned WHO medical alerts to ensure that all medical items are supplied by authorised or licenced providers who have been approved by the appropriate authorities to sell those items.


Additionally, the manufacturers should produce items in compliance with international norms and regulations and should allocate the necessary resources to enhance and expand risk-based inspections of manufacturing sites under their authority. The government should establish and enforce laws and other suitable legal actions when necessary and appropriate to help combat the production, distribution, and/or use of substandard and falsified medicines.

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