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WHO flags India-made contaminated cold syrup in Iraq

August 8, 2023
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New Delhi: World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that contaminated common cold syrup found in Iraq last month was manufactured by an Indian pharmaceutical company based in Maharashtra.

The contaminated batch was manufactured by Fourrts (India) Laboratories Pvt. Ltd for Dabilife Pharma Pvt Ltd, according to a WHO statement.

The cold medication made in India named ‘Cold Out’, found on sale in Iraq, contains toxic chemicals, reports claimed last month.

The tests showed the cold medication is contaminated with ethylene glycol, a toxic industrial solvent.

The new WHO product alert “refers to one batch of substandard (contaminated) COLD OUT syrup (Paracetamol and Chlorpheniramine Maleate) identified in the Republic of Iraq and reported to the WHO on July 10, 2023, by a third party”, said the global health agency.

A sample of the Cold Out Syrup was obtained from one location in Iraq and submitted for laboratory analysis.

“The sample was found to contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol (0.25%) and ethylene glycol (2.1%) as contaminants. The acceptable safety limit for both ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol is no more than 0.10%,” the WHO said in a statement.

Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans when consumed and can prove fatal.

“To date, the stated manufacturer and the marketer have not provided guarantees to WHO on the safety and quality of the product,” it added.

The compound is lethal to humans in small amounts and allegedly played a role in mass child deaths caused by Indian-made cough syrups in Gambia and Uzbekistan last year, according to earlier reports.

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