Gambia to suspend paracetamol syrup sales amid child deaths

BANJUL (Reuters): The Gambian government ordered the suspension of the sales of paracetamol syrups after the deaths of dozens of children in the country.

Last Thursday, the head of the West African country’s health service said it had launched a probe after a spike in cases of acute kidney injury among children under the age of 5 was detected in late July.

The medicines regulator, known as the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), said there was insufficient data to warrant a general ban on paracetamol syrups, a painkiller often used to treat fevers in children.

The children suffered symptoms including an inability to pass urine, fever and vomiting that quickly led to kidney failure.

It did not name any specific brands but said some samples had been sent abroad for quality control testing.

Last week, World Health Organisation (WHO) officials said the evidence pointed not to paracetamol but to an infectious origin such as polluted water, but emphasized there were many unanswered questions.