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Cough syrup suspected of killing 12 kids in Cameroon might be made in India


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The central African nation of Cameroon’s authorities suspect a particular kind of cough syrup with marks indicating it was prepared in India of killing 12 children there recently.

A manufacturing licence number matching that of Riemann Labs Pvt. Ltd., situated in Indore in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, can be seen in photos of a Naturcold drug package. A regional health official from Cameroon named Eko Eko Filbert gave the images, which lack a manufacturer’s identity.

The medications in the image “look like ours,” Riemann director Navin Bhatia remarked in a phone interview. He claimed that even though counterfeiting is frequent, Riemann adheres to strong quality controls and couldn’t have produced tainted medication.

The information increases the possibility of a third mass fatality incident in less than a year being connected to cough syrups made in India and exported. Over 60 children were murdered by drugs produced by two other Indian companies last year in the Gambia and about 20 in Uzbekistan.

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In those instances, it was discovered that the syrup prescriptions contained diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, two hazardous substances.

Despite the fact that no injuries have been reported in those instances, two further Indian enterprises are suspected of producing similarly contaminated syrups that were discovered in Liberia and the Marshall Islands.

According to Bloomberg, a representative from the Madhya Pradesh Food and Drugs Administration said, “Based on your inquiries, we have sent a team to investigate and we are waiting for the reports.”

The Naturcold samples linked to the deaths will be tested by the Cameroonian authorities as they continue to look into the origin of the outbreak, according to a text message Filbert sent on June 5. By that time, he claimed, 12 kids had already died.

The medication, according to Filbert, was likely smuggled into Cameroon because it was not permitted to be imported there. He said that the origin of the narcotics was unknown to the authorities.

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The bottle of cough medicine was manufactured in March 2022, according to the product label that can be seen in the photos. It features the name and emblem of the marketing firm Fraken International, which has a UK address.

Email and LinkedIn messages sent to that address failed to get through to the intended recipients.

In early 2022, according to Bhatia, Riemann last produced a batch of Naturcold for Fraken under contract. It was given to an exporter, who reportedly sent it to Cameroon. He claimed that Riemann is one of numerous Indian businesses that produced the item.

Glycerin and propylene glycol are important syrup basic ingredients. According to Bhatia, Riemann only purchases these compounds from reputable producers in sealed containers and then has a third-party lab analyse them before usage.

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We give quality extra consideration, he remarked. “Everything is being done to ensure safety.”

According to Bhatia, the practise of “duplicacy,” in which a drug is repackaged to resemble a product made by another company, is widespread in various regions of Africa.

“We cannot be certain, but they appear to be ours. There is a tonne of repetition there. It is unlikely given the calibre of our offering, he remarked. “I am absolutely certain that the product we sent from here is not contaminated,”

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