Dangerous medicine – level 3

27-01-2023 15:00

After a series of children deaths linked to cough syrups, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for immediate action against contaminated medicines.

Last year, more than 300 children, mostly younger than five years, in Gambia, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan died of acute kidney injuries. Authorities linked these deaths to over-the-counter cough syrups with high levels of chemicals. These chemicals can be fatal in small amounts, and thus, they should never be in medicines.

According to the WHO, the news impacts the Philippines, Senegal, and Cambodia because they have these medicines in their stores. The WHO called for action across its 194 member states to prevent more deaths. The involved companies denied their products were contaminated. However, the WHO called for more oversight from governments and regulators and for drug manufacturers to test their products thoroughly with records of the process.

Difficult words: over-the-counter (sold legally without a prescription from a doctor), fatal (cause death), oversight (watchful and responsible care).

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What are the implications of the WHO's announcement that over-the-counter cough syrups with high levels of chemicals can be fatal in small amounts?


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