Pakistan: 16 people killed by cough syrup

Toxic cough syrup kills 16 people in Pakistan

Toxic cough syrup is linked to 16 deaths in Pakistan. Three pharmacies and the manufacturing company have been closed by the Pakistani authorities. "Most of the fatalities were drug addicts who apparently took high doses of cough syrup to get intoxicated," reports local police chief Atif Zulfiqar.

"At least 16 people, mostly drug addicts, died after taking the toxic syrup," Zulfiqar told AFP. Originally there were only 13 fatalities, but the number has to be revised upwards in the course of further reports on the weekend. All poisoning from cough syrup affected the city of Lahore in eastern Pakistan on the border with India. In January, around 100 cardiac patients died after taking locally manufactured, faulty medications. According to this, the reckless traders in the pharmaceutical market in Pakistan apparently accept the death of patients more often for their profit.

Due to the recent deaths from taking the toxic cough syrup, three pharmacies have been shut down and their owners have been arrested, Punjab health advisor Salman Khawaja Rafiq said. The cough syrup was confiscated and samples were sent to the laboratory for examination. The manufacturing pharmaceutical factory was also temporarily closed. Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif has ordered an investigation and is due to report to him within 72 hours, Rafiq said. Doctor Tahir Khalil of the Mayo Clinic in Lahore reports on a total of 20 patients between the ages of 15 and 45 who needed medical care after drinking cough syrup in his hospital. Most of them were drug addicts. The last victim, who was previously in critical condition, passed away today. This increased the number of deaths in the hospital to seven. A total of six of those affected could be rescued, seven more are still in hospital due to their serious condition, the doctor said. (fp)

Image: Benjamin Klack /

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Video: Cough syrup kills dozens in Pakistan

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