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Pakistan investigates cough syrup tied to 35 deaths

Controversy rages over government oversight
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An investigation into the deaths of 35 people in Gujranwala, Pakistan, tied to a cough syrup has sparked a controversy over who is to blame. There are still questions about whether the drug contained toxic ingredients and whether users were abusing the product, but officials there are trying to deflect outrage directed at local government regulators. Sen. Pervez Rashid, a spokesman for the provincial Punjab government, told The Express Tribune there that it "is not the inefficiency of the provincial government, but it is the fault of the victims, who misused the syrup." He then said if the investigation finds that a drug company was responsible, "action will be taken against the pharmaceutical company if found guilty." Pakistan last year established a new national drug regulatory authority after about 130 people died and hundreds more were sickened when a cardiology clinic in Punjab that serves the poor gave them contaminated drugs that had been donated. Tests found that the donated drugs were tainted with a concentration of an ingredient used in anti-malarial drugs. Story | More

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