The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday urged “immediate and coordinated action” to root out contaminated medicines that have been linked to the deaths of hundreds of children in Africa and Asia.
More than 300 children died from contaminated cough syrup in the Gambia, Uzbekistan and Indonesia in 2022. Many of the victims were younger than five years old.
The incidents are believed to be caused by the contamination of Indian and Indonesian-made cough syrups with dangerously high levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.
“These contaminants are toxic chemicals used as industrial solvents and antifreeze agents that can be fatal even taken in small amounts, and should never be found in medicines,” the WHO said.