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Families Of Gambian Children Who Died After Consuming Cough Syrups Sue Indian Drug Firm

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Deaths of 20 Gambian children have created problems for Indian company Maiden Pharmaceuticals as the families filed complaints against the medical company and local Gambian authorities and also sued it. The children have been said to die of consuming cough syrups produced by the Indian company.

Last year, around 70 kids, largely infants and toddlers, died in the Gambia as a result of acute renal damage. Since then, people have fought for restitution and justice which has been now furthered by this case which has not come in public.

On Friday, the filing was sent to the High Court of the Gambia. The families ask for around $250,000 in compensation for each of the 20 children who are represented in the lawsuit, totalling about $5 million.

The families are also suing Atlantic Pharmaceuticals, a local supplier of the contaminated medications, the Gambia’s health minister, the country’s medicines control agency, and others.

“You don’t have to have a child to feel what the families have gone through. It is the scariest thing,” said Loubna Farage, the lead counsel in the case. “This is a system that should have taken care of them.”

A representative of Gambia’s judiciary acknowledged the filing of the complaint.

The Indian company and government refute the accusations made by the World Health Organisation, which last year connected four cough syrups and fever-reducing medications produced by Maiden to deaths.

This is not a lone incident of this kind, last year in Uzbekistan around 20 children died by consuming cough syrups manufactured by an Indian drug company. These incidents have exposed the negligent regulation along with inadequate testing capability by India’s pharmaceutical industry worth $42 billion. Gambia is one of the poorer nations which lack testing.

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