“These products contain unacceptable levels of ethylene glycol and/or diethylene glycol contaminants,” writes the World Health Organization. “So far they have been identified in Indonesia. However, they may have marketing authorizations in other countries. These products may also have been distributed through informal markets in other countries or regions,” he adds.
The WHO is asking national health authorities to check the presence of these products on the market, manufacturers of liquid medicines to test active ingredients for the presence of impurities and citizens not to use these medicines.
The alert follows the deaths of at least 140 children in Indonesia and 70 in The Gambia. The deaths have been linked to the use of contaminated syrups, although further research is ongoing to confirm the link between the deaths and drug use.
On October 5, the WHO had already issued an alert on four products widely used in The Gambia.