WHO cough mixture health alerts raises questions about slack compliance in manufacturing

30 March 2023

A string of fatalities linked to contaminated cough syrup in 2022 puts the spotlight on quality assurance in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

At the start of this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that more than 300 children had died in The Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan in 2022 in deaths linked to contaminated medicine. The medicines – over-the-counter cough syrup – were contaminated with ethylene glycol (EG) and diethylene glycol (DEG). These can cause acute kidney injuries and be fatal even when ingested in small amounts. Most of the children were under the age of 5.

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