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Gambia lawmakers: Maiden to blame for rash of child deaths

A woman holds up a picture of her late son, who died from acute kidney failure, in Banjul on Oct 10, 2022. Gambian police announced an investigation into four cough syrups made by the Indian Pharma company Maiden Pharmaceuticals. (MILAN BERCKMANS / AFP)

DAKAR – A parliamentary committee in Gambia said on Tuesday that India-based drug maker Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd was responsible for the deaths of at least 70 children from acute kidney injury and called on the government to pursue legal action.

Maiden’s managing director, Naresh Kumar Goyal, did not immediately respond to calls and messages from Reuters on Tuesday.

The WHO in October said that lab analysis confirmed "unacceptable" amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol in the medicines made by Maiden

The World Health Organization in October said four medicinal syrups made by Maiden and imported by a local wholesaler were likely linked to the deaths, which have shocked the West African country since July. The drugs were pulled from the shelves and Maiden's production license in India was suspended.

After its investigation, Gambia's select committee on health reached a similar conclusion.

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"All the cases of AKI are linked to the consumption of contaminated medical products…manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals," the committee's chairperson Amadou Camara said in a statement to parliament.

Goyal on Friday told Reuters that his company had done no wrong.

The WHO in October said that lab analysis confirmed "unacceptable" amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol in the medicines made by Maiden, which can be toxic and lead to acute kidney injury.

READ MORE: Rash of child deaths in Gambia 'linked to syrups made in India'

Earlier this month India told the WHO that tests of samples from the same batches of syrups that were sent to Gambia were compliant with government specifications.