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Punjab Government Bans Five Substandard Cough Syrups Following WHO Investigation and International Complaint

The interim government of Punjab has imposed a ban on five substandard cough syrups following an investigation by the World Health Organization (WHO), prompted by a complaint from the Maldives. Interim Health Minister Jamal Nasir announced on Friday that the probe revealed the presence of a high amount of alcohol in these syrups.

Cough Syrups

The complaint from Maldives alleged contamination, specifically pointing to unacceptable levels of diethylene glycol. Minister Nasir emphasized that strict action would be taken against those individuals who tarnished the country’s reputation, especially considering that these syrups were also supplied internationally.

The decision to ban these cough syrups in the province was based on recommendations from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan. Minister Nasir assured that the stock of the syrup had been recalled from all medical stores across the country.

Furthermore, he stated that the manufacturing facility responsible for producing the syrup would be sealed, and there would be zero tolerance for those accountable for the substandard product. Nasir mentioned that authorities had swiftly acted to instruct officers to withhold 19 batches of the syrup within a short timeframe.


In August, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified a single batch of compromised cold syrup (Paracetamol and Chlorpheniramine Maleate) in the Republic of Iraq. This particular combination of paracetamol and chlorpheniramine was commonly used to alleviate symptoms associated with the common cold and allergies.

Upon examination, the sample was discovered to contain unacceptable levels of diethylene glycol (0.25%) and ethylene glycol (2.1%) as contaminants. It’s crucial to note that the permissible safety limit for both ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol is not to exceed 0.10%.

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