India is mulling a change in its pharmaceutical industry policy due to deaths abroad due to cough syrups manufactured in the country.
According to the British news agency Reuters, a document from the office of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has overlooked “important things” in the pharmaceutical industry’s policy.
The May 15 document states that a meeting was held in Hyderabad to address the issue of overseas deaths from syrup imported from India.
According to the Ministry of Health, Minister Minsk Mandavia and officials of central and state regulatory bodies attended the meeting.
According to the document, the policy changes were made because “important things” were neglected.
According to a source with knowledge of the matter, the change in policy means that oversight of India’s $41 billion pharmaceutical industry will be tightened.
Among the measures proposed under the policy change are more testing of cough syrups and other medicinal products.
The document shows that for the first time, the issue of cough syrup has been addressed by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Modi’s office and the health ministry did not respond to questions from Reuters.
India’s drug regulator, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, has recommended that cough syrups be tested by government laboratories before export.
Last year, the World Health Organisation revealed the presence of two potentially toxic substances in cough syrup manufactured in India. 70 children died in Gambia after drinking the syrup.
The World Health Organisation says it is trying to trace those responsible for the deaths to the supply chain but has not yet been successful.
India had taken action against another company whose cough syrup had killed 19 children in Uzbekistan.
A third Indian company was identified by the World Health Organization as having exported the toxic syrup to the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.
According to Indian Ministry of Health officials, the death toll from drinking the poisonous syrup has damaged India’s pharmaceutical industry.