Cough syrup deaths abroad, Congress & BJP spar

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, December 29: Several children had died in Gambia after allegedly using cough syrup made by a Haryana-based pharmaceutical company. Scores of children are now dead in Uzbekistan after consuming cough syrup made by a Noida-based pharmaceutical company. India has not yet fixed the responsibility, while the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress engage in a war of words.

“Made in India cough syrups seem to be deadly. First it was the deaths of 70 kids in Gambia and now it is that of 18 children in Uzbekistan. Modi Sarkar must stop boasting about India being a pharmacy to the world and take strictest action,” said former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, who is also the head of the communication department of Congress.

The BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya sought to blame the parent of the ill-fated children for serving them the cough syrup in not a proper manner. “All children were given the drug without a doctor’s prescription. Since the main component of the drug is paracetamol, Doc-1 Max syrup was incorrectly used by parents as an anti-cold remedy on their own or on the recommendation of pharmacy sellers. And this was the reason for the deterioration of the condition of patients,” Malviya added on the deaths of kids in Uzbekistan.

It may be noted that India doesn’t have a centralized drugs standard licensing authority. The state level drugs authorities issue licenses to the drugs manufacturers which are enough for them to export the products. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had given the clean chit to the Haryana-based syrup manufacturer on the Gambia deaths of children.

However, a Gambian parliamentary committee had fixed the onus on the Haryana-based manufacturer for the deaths of the children, accusing that toxic elements were mixed in the syrup which had caused the fatalities. Ramesh had also previously accused that the World Health Organisation and the Gambian authorities had concluded that the Haryana-based manufacturer was at fault for the death of 70 children by mixing up the toxic elements.

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