The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an alert on Monday, revealing that a batch of contaminated common cold syrup discovered in Iraq last month originated from an Indian pharmaceutical company located in Maharashtra.
The specific batch of tainted cold syrup was produced by Fourrts (India) Laboratories Pvt. Ltd on behalf of Dabilife Pharma Pvt Ltd, as outlined in a statement from the WHO.
The syrup, branded as ‘Cold Out,’ and originating from India, was discovered for sale in Iraq, with previous reports indicating the presence of harmful chemicals.
Laboratory tests have demonstrated that the cold medication contains ethylene glycol, a hazardous industrial solvent.
The recent WHO alert pertains to a single batch of substandard and contaminated ‘COLD OUT’ syrup, a combination of Paracetamol and Chlorpheniramine Maleate, found in the Republic of Iraq. This information was reported to the WHO on July 10, 2023, by a third-party source, according to the global health agency.
Both diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans
An example of the Cold Out Syrup was acquired from an Iraqi location and subjected to laboratory analysis.
“The analysis revealed the presence of unacceptable levels of diethylene glycol (0.25%) and ethylene glycol (2.1%) as contaminants. The approved safety threshold for both diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol is no more than 0.10%,” stated the WHO in an official announcement.
Both diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans when ingested and can lead to fatal outcomes.
The WHO added, “Up until now, the manufacturer and distributor have not furnished the WHO with any assurances regarding the safety and quality of this product.”
It’s worth noting that even in small quantities, this compound can be lethal to humans. Previous reports suggest a potential connection between this compound and mass child fatalities resulting from Indian-manufactured cough syrups in Gambia and Uzbekistan last year.