WHO on Cough Syrup

Context: Recently, World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an alert over a batch of India-made common cold syrup sold in Iraq. More on the News
  • According to WHO, syrup had a higher than acceptable limit of contaminants: diethylene and ethylene glycol,
  • In its medical product alert, the WHO said the batch of the syrup had 0.25 per cent of diethylene glycol and 2.1 per cent of ethylene glycol, when the acceptable safety limit for both of them is up to 0.10 per cent.
  • Dangerous effects of Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol: They can prove fatal for humans on consumption.
    • The contaminated batch use, especially in children, may result in serious injury or death.
    • Toxic effects can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.
    • According to WHO, till now, five “contaminated” syrups involving Indian manufacturers have come under scrutiny.
  • Past Instances: Previously, Indian-made cough syrups have been linked to the death of dozens of children in Uzbekistan and Gambia, prompting the government to tighten the export policy for cough syrups.
    • It is now mandatory to test before supplying to other countries.
  • Need for Tough Regulation: Pharmaceutical exports from India rose by 3.25 per cent in the last fiscal, reaching USD 25.4 billion, and are expected to grow by approximately 6.3 per cent in the ongoing fiscal year, reaching the USD 27 billion mark.
News Source: Livemint

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