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WHO Issues Global Medical Alert For Contaminated Batch of Punjab Manufactured Cough Syrup

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a global medical alert for a cough syrup produced by Punjab-based QP Pharmachem and marketed by Haryana-based Trillium Pharma. The cough syrup was flagged in the Western Pacific Region but the organization has not shared if anyone has fallen sick.

The cough syrup named Guaifenesin Syrup TG Syrup has been flagged by WHO because of a batch that is said to be substandard (contaminated). The batch was found in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia, and was reported to WHO on April 6, 2023. It explained that samples of Guaifenesin Syrup TG Syrup from the Marshall Islands were analysed by quality control laboratories of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia and they were found to contain contaminants diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.

Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans and can prove fatal when consumed.

“The analysis found that the product contained unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants. The stated manufacturer of the affected product is QP Pharmachem (Punjab, India). The stated marketer of the product is Trillium Pharma (Haryana, India),” the WHO said. It added, “The product referenced in this Alert may have marketing authorizations in other countries in the Western Pacific region. It may have also been distributed, through informal markets, to other countries or regions.”

This is not the first time a medication manufactured in India has been flagged. Back in October last year, a WHO medical alert was raised against cold and cough formulations made by Sonepat based Maidan Pharma for the alleged death of over 66 Gambian children. Then in December, Uzbekistan health ministry reported that 18 children died from consuming a cough syrup made by Noida based Marion Biotech. This month, the deaths and blindness of three people in the US was linked to Chennai based Global Pharma-made eye drops.

The WHO has asked member states for increased surveillance and diligence in regard to the supply chains of regions likely to be affected by these products.

Vineet Washington
— whocough syrupflaggedGuaifenesin Syrup TG SyrupIndiaMarshall IslandsMicronesiaPunjabQP PharmachemTrillium PharmaWestern Pacific RegionWorld Health Organisation