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Chief scientist at WHO Dr Soumya Swaminathan said “death of children in Gambia likely to Indian made cough syrups”

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World Health Organization
World Health Organization | Image : ANI

Chief scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Soumya Swaminathan has said the death of children in Gambia, potentially linked to four Indian-made cough syrups, was a serious issue.

Swaminathan was speaking to reporters on Thursday on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) here.

A WHO report has linked the death of 66 children in Gambia to four Indian-made cough syrups. “Certainly, the government is in touch with WHO as WHO actually provided the report based on the investigation which was done to prove that it was because of the diethylene glycol contamination. It is a very serious issue and it has to be taken very seriously,” said Swaminathan.

In India there are central as well as state-level drug regulators and there is a need to harmonize their operations, she said. “There are no mechanisms where regulators of different states can actually work together, do the inspections on each other’s products,” she said.

For India to remain a leader in generic medicines and vaccines space, it is important to prove that “we have a very strong regulatory system”, she said.

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