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Gambia child deaths threaten India's 'pharmacy of world' position

Company suspended over cough syrups suspected in nearly 70 fatal cases

Mariama Kuyateh holds up a picture of her late son, who died from acute kidney failure, in Banjul, Gambia, on Oct. 10. Cough syrups made by an Indian company are under investigation in connection with dozens of similar deaths.   © AFP/Jiji

NEW DELHI -- India is rushing to investigate four locally made cough and cold syrups suspected in the deaths of nearly 70 children in the West African nation of Gambia, amid concerns the tragedy could damage the country's reputation as a "pharmacy of the world."

The deaths made global headlines after the World Health Organization issued a medical product alert last week warning of "contaminated" products manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals in the northern Indian state of Haryana. Indian health authorities this week halted the company's production facilities in Haryana's Sonipat district, near the national capital.

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