Following the death of 66 children in Gambia whom were given cough syrups, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerian importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers to avoid the importation, distribution, sale and use of substandard cough syrups made in India.
The World Health Organisation had on October 5 issued a global alert over four India-made cough syrups linked to the death of 66 children in The Gambia.
The four products are Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup.
The global health body alerted that “the stated manufacturer of these products is Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited (Haryana, India). To date, the stated manufacturer has not provided guarantees to the WHO on the safety and quality of these products.
Speaking with newsmen, Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, said the products were not registered by NAFDAC, therefore should not be in circulation.
“We are alerting members of the public that if they come across it in the market, it is not approved by NAFDAC and people should avoid it.
When asked if the agency would raid the drug markets to ensure that the products were not in circulation, Akintola said, “Our pharmacovigilance directorate goes into the market as detectives to ensure that no product that is not approved by NAFDAC is in circulation. That is why we are warning that a certain number of drugs have not been approved by NAFDAC and Nigerians should avoid them.”
Also, an alert notice to health care providers and the public issued by the agency and made available to our correspondent stated that all batches of the products should be considered unsafe.
It partly read, “The substandard products in this alert are unsafe and their use, especially in children, may result in serious injury or death.
“NAFDAC implores importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, and use of substandard cough syrups. All medical products must be obtained from authorised/licensed suppliers. The products’ authenticity and physical condition should be carefully checked.”
Meanwhile, Police in The Gambia are investigating the deaths of the children, as senior officials from the Medicine Control Agency and the importers have been called for questioning, the president’s office said.
President Adama Barrow said that the authorities would “leave no stone unturned” in the investigation.
Gambians, angry about what happened, are wondering who is to blame.