Centre forms 4-member expert team to probe WHO claims on Maiden Pharmaceuticals

The Central Government on Wednesday formed a four-member expert committee to investigate the report sent by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the deaths of 66 children in Gambia by consuming cough syrups manufactured by Sonipat-based company Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited.
 A committee comprising technical experts Dr YK Gupta, Vice Chairperson, Standing National Committee on Medicines (chair); Dr Pragya Yadav, ICMR -NIV, Pune; Dr Arti Bahl, Division of epidemiology, NCDC, New Delhi and AK Pradhan, JDC(I), CDSCO has been formed.

“Government is alert and formed a committee. Production of cough syrups by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has been suspended, and lab report is awaited. Four-member expert committee has been formed to investigate the report sent by WHO,” official sources said.

According to the reports, Atlanta-based Atlantic Pharmaceuticals Company Ltd., which has permission to export medicines to Gambia, ordered combined syrup bottles, which were purchased from Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited. “From the preliminary inquiry of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), it has been made out that Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd is a manufacturer licenced by the State Drug Controller for the products’ Promethazine Oral Solution BP, Kofexnalin Baby Cough Syrup, MaKoff Baby Cough Syrup, and MaGrip n Cold Syrup under reference, and holds manufacturing permission for these products for export only,” the sources said. The WHO has informed that as per the tentative results received by WHO, out of the 23 samples of the products under reference which were tested, four samples have been found to contain Diethylene Glycol or Ethylene Glycol. The top officials said that the exact “one-to-one causal relation of death” has not been provided by WHO to CDSCO despite requesting it twice in this regard.
Earlier in the day, the Haryana government ordered a halt on the production of cough syrups from Sonipat-based company Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited. 
The company has also been issued a show cause notice for 12 violations found at its manufacturing plant. The pharma company had come under scanner following the deaths of 66 children who had consumed the cough syrup in Gambia. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) on October 5 issued a medical product alert over four India-made cough and cold syrups manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals

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