The Gambia says the number of children who died of acute kidney damage thought to be linked to Indian-made cough syrups has increased to 70.

President Adama Barrow gave the update at an emergency cabinet meeting held on October 13 to review various aspects of the incident.

The cough syrup was made by an Indian company called Maiden based in New Delhi. The company has so far had one of its factories shut down in northern India as health authorities there investigate.

The Gambia is also investigating the cause of the children’s deaths, and a new commission of inquiry has been formed to conduct the investigation.


Meanwhile, the World Health Organization announced that laboratory tests on four products by Maiden found “unacceptable” levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which can be toxic and contain lead that can cause severe kidney injury.

The Indian health ministry has announced that samples of all four cough syrups exported to Gambia have been sent to a federal laboratory for further investigation.

Barrow said Gambia’s health ministry was working with the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some syrup samples sent to Senegal, Ghana, France and Switzerland for testing showed signs of contamination, he said.

For now, the sales of all brands of paracetamol syrup in the Gambia have been suspended on the orders of the government. The product has also been taken off the shelves of pharmacies.

Maiden has an annual production capacity of 2.2 million bottles of syrup, 600 million capsules, 18 million injections, 300,000 tubes of ointment and 1.2 billion tablets.

Known as a “pharmacy of the world,” India supplies 45 percent of all generic medicines to Africa. (