Gambia lawmakers say Maiden to blame for child kidney injury deaths

A parliamentary committee in Gambia said on Tuesday that India-based drug maker Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd was responsible for the deaths of at least 70 children from acute kidney injury and called on the government to pursue legal action.

Maiden’s managing director, Naresh Kumar Goyal, did not immediately respond to calls and messages from Reuters on Tuesday.

The World Health Organization in October said four medicinal syrups made by Maiden and imported by a local wholesaler were likely linked to the deaths, which have shocked the West African country since July.

After its investigation, Gambia’s select committee on health reached a similar conclusion.

“All the cases of AKI are linked to the consumption of contaminated medical products…manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals,” the committee’s chairperson Amadou Camara said in a statement to parliament.

Goyal on Friday told Reuters that his company had done no wrong.

The WHO in October said that lab analysis confirmed “unacceptable” amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol in the medicines made by Maiden, which can be toxic and lead to acute kidney injury.

Earlier this month India told the WHO that tests of samples from the same batches of syrups that were sent to Gambia were compliant with government specifications.

(With input from Reuters)