September 22, 2023

The World Well being Group (WHO), which has issued product alerts for at the least three Made-in-India cough and chilly medicines since October, is investigating extra merchandise. Whereas the worldwide company has not but expanded the record of medical product alerts, it stated this may change because it receives extra data.

“So far, this example has impacted greater than 20 merchandise with two international locations of origin (India and Indonesia) and greater than 15 completely different producers. All of the merchandise are syrup-based (paracetamol syrup, cough syrup, or vitamin syrup),” stated Margaret Harris, spokesperson for WHO.

She added that WHO takes all studies of substandard or falsified medical merchandise very critically. “WHO is conscious of media reporting of doubtless contaminated syrups in different international locations than these listed above.

Whereas investigations are ongoing, WHO has not expanded its record of medical product alerts. This will change as we obtain extra data,” stated Harris.

The WHO director-general issued a name to motion in January to implore all member states to extend their surveillance and testing efforts as a result of individuals are ‘needlessly being put in danger’.

“The world must do extra to guard its residents. Our investigations with the impacted international locations are ongoing,” Harris stated in an emailed response.

Maiden Prescribed drugs in Haryana was the primary to come back underneath WHO scanner for ‘substandard’ cough syrup, and WHO issued a product alert in October final 12 months.

In January, an alert was issued in opposition to Marion Biotech of Uttar Pradesh for ‘unacceptable quantities of diethylene glycol and/or ethylene glycol as contaminants’.

In April, a ‘substandard’ batch of Guaifenesin syrup made by Punjab-based QP PharmaChem was recognized within the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant used to alleviate chest congestion and the signs of coughing. WHO had stated that samples from the Marshall Islands had been analysed by high quality management laboratories of the Therapeutic Items Administration of Australia.

“The evaluation discovered that the product contained unacceptable quantities of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants,” it had stated. 

Harris stated that there are historic incidences of product contamination with diethylene glycol or ethylene glycol relationship again to the Thirties.

“Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are poisonous substances and shouldn’t be current in human medicines,” she added.

She additional added that the latest spate of contaminated medicines started with studies in July–October 2022 in The Gambia, with subsequent studies in Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. These all warrant WHO Medical Product Alerts.

Harris stated that alerts are issued when a scenario requires motion.

“WHO points such alerts when it has adequate proof to show {that a} product is contaminated. That is decided by product evaluation by the impacted nation, the manufacturing nation, or the producer. In some circumstances, international locations ask for the assistance of WHO laboratories to conduct an evaluation. WHO depends on the community of member states, their nationwide regulatory companies, and ministries of well being to share data and act on alerts issued by WHO,” she defined.

The function of WHO on this scenario is to document the report, assess the general public well being threat posed by the contaminated product, and talk the chance to regulators and different stakeholders, in addition to the general public and sufferers, in a bid to detect and take away the product from circulation, the company stated.

Union Well being Minister Mansukh Mandaviya stated earlier this week that India has already began a risk-based evaluation of website manufacturing and has a zero-tolerance method in direction of any type of callousness in direction of high quality.

India has additionally requested for cough syrup batches to be examined by Central Drug Testing Laboratories earlier than exporting.


  • Maiden Pharma: WHO alert in October 2022
  • Marion Biotech: WHO alert in January 2023
  • QP PharmaChem: WHO alert in April 2023
  • India inspects 150 vegetation; present trigger notices to 70 websites
  • India points closure notices to 18 vegetation