Cough syrup poisoning: NCPCR asks Delhi govt to ensure Dextromethorphan is not used

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Pouring cough medicine onto a spoon from a bottle

NEW DELHI: The country’s apex child rights body NCPCR has asked the Delhi government to ensure that Dextromethorphan is not supplied or used in the city, days after three children died due to alleged cough syrup poisoning.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has also asked the city government to submit an action take report on the entire matter within 15 days.

The three children had died allegedly after consuming the cough syrup which was prescribed by doctors at mohalla clinics.

“It is an act of criminal negligence and action should be taken against doctor, government officials whoever is involved in its distribution to children as this syrup was never meant to be given to children,” NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo told PTI Thursday.

The three children were admitted to the Centre-run Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital. One child died on October 13. Two other children also died the same month.

In a letter to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, Kanoongo asked him to look into the matter and “kindly ensure to stop the usage of syrup Dextromethorphan and also ensure that no syrup of this batch is left at any of the dispensing units.”

“Further you are requested to send a factual action taken report regarding the action taken against respective officers, doctors and pharma company along with all the relevant documents to the Commission within 15 days,” reads the letter issued on Monday.

Dextromethorphan is one of the most widely used cough suppressants. However, it is subject to abuse.

The consumption of high doses of the drug can lead to insomnia, dilated pupils, dizziness, nausea, restlessness, dizziness, shallow breathing and diarrhoea etc.

Already, the Delhi government has terminated the services of three doctors and order an inquiry into the matter.

The Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital has reported 16 cases of dextromethorphan poisoning among children aged between one and six from June 29 to November 21.

“Most of the children complained of respiratory depression. The three children who died had come in a bad shape,” a senior doctor at the hospital had told PTI. (PTI)