Last week officials in Panama along with US Centres for Disease Control, discovered diethylene glycol in a sugarless government manufactured cough syrup. The contaminant is thought to be responsible for the deaths of 22 people since July . Several others, most of them older people, have been hospitalised for kidney and nerve damage.
The toxic chemical has been now detected in 3 more medicines. The drug factory has been closed down and all its medicines have been banned. The public are being urged to avoid the drugs and notices have been put up in all health clinics giving all the information about the banned medicines.
The victims complained of nausea and diarrhoea, and their facial muscles sagged and became paralysed; some had kidney damage.The Panama authorities brought in the CDC who identified the cough syrup to be containing the offending chemical.
Diethylene glycol is an industrial chemical and known to be dangerous. People who have been suffering from its toxic effects will be given an antidote.