20 victims aged 15 to 45 had been admitted after drinking the syrup and most had a history of addiction, said a local hospital official.— File Photo by AP

LAHORE: At least 16 people have died after drinking a toxic cough syrup in Lahore, forcing authorities to close three pharmacies and a medicine factory, officials said Monday.

The deaths occurred in the low-income Shahdra Town neighbourhood between Friday and Sunday with the victims mostly drug addicts who took the syrup to get high, said local police station chief Atif Zulfiqar.

The scandal comes after around 100 heart patients died in January in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city, after taking faulty medicine made locally.

“At least 16 people, mostly drug addicts, have died after taking the toxic syrup,” Zulfiqar told AFP, updating an earlier death toll of 13.

“Some of the victims were found dead in a graveyard where addicts used to take different kinds of drugs,” he said. Seven others died in hospital.

Three pharmacies have been shut down and their owners arrested, he added.

The health adviser for Punjab province, Khawaja Salman Rafiq, said the syrup would be confiscated from all pharmacies.

He said inspectors had shut down a drugs factory and sent samples to a laboratory for detailed analysis.

“Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif has ordered an inquiry and a report will be submitted to him within 72 hours,” Rafiq said.

Doctor Tahir Khalil at Lahore’s Mayo Hospital said 20 victims aged 15 to 45 had been admitted after drinking the syrup and most had a history of addiction.

“One of the victims who was in critical condition died today and the total deaths in hospital are seven,” Khalil said.

“Six people were saved and were discharged after treatment, while seven others were still admitted to hospital,” he added.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (72)

November 26, 2012 12:20 pm
Some people are probably saying its only 16 and they happen to be mainly drug addicts so it doesnt matter.......this is now the extent of our consciousness after every major tragedy.
November 26, 2012 10:44 pm
Yes fully agree. Why hiding it?!?
November 26, 2012 12:39 pm
IT is Cough Syrup Tyno, manufactured by Ricko Pharmacal Lahore
November 27, 2012 12:34 am
you can do any thing to silent majority in Pakistan.They keep quiet thinking that it will never happen to them.This is not the first time and will not be last time.
November 27, 2012 4:45 am
its written in the article
November 27, 2012 7:28 am
My humble request to everyone here, , Please get your facts together before having such a baseless and ridiculous thought! It has been proven by the govt and showed all over the media that this cough syrup had ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with it. These unfortunate drug addicts came across something completely different which was produced by an illegal factory in Pakistan. Again, I believe our people must have all their facts clear before pointing fingers on the pharmaceutical whoare doing nothing nut serving humanity. please do yourselves a massive favour and please become more aware individuals by knowing any drug in overdose can be fatal, completely regardless of the drug! Do we worry when people overdose on lexotnils and Valium?! Do we decide that the manufacturer should be closed down? No wonder Pakistani's are getting nowhere in life because we all still have such closed and ignorant minds.
November 27, 2012 2:12 am
sorry to say but there is saying .. daily funeral gathers no mourners .... :-( sad hat humanity died before the victims did in this nation ...
Pakistani Barbie
November 27, 2012 12:26 am
How come there is no mention of the cough syrup? Dawn should mention the name of the cough syrup. Maybe this is the same cough syrup my ex mother in law tried to poison me with,
Pakistani Barbie
November 27, 2012 12:30 am
@Syed: I agree, a life is a life no matter what.
Does not matter
November 27, 2012 2:39 am
I think people are pretty angry with Dawn for not printing the name of the pharma company. I don't think they can until it is established by thorough investigation. What if it is some other reason and not the syrup? It is mentioned that mostly people that died were drug addict. What if they had consumed some other substance along with the syrup that could have caused some sort of toxic reaction? If some other reason is found out then Dawn might be sued for a very large sum. It is a still a news story not a verdict.
November 27, 2012 7:30 am
Dear tony, The drug manufactured wasn't spurious!! The drug test reports have come out clear. The bottles consumed were of substandard quality produced by a fake factory who were re-using the bottles. Please get your facts together and do some research for your own good.
Pakistani Barbie
November 27, 2012 2:54 am
@Sajjad: Sooo true, Pakistani people always stay silent from my experience.
Muhammad Farooq, ON, Canada
November 27, 2012 2:58 am
i recall the cough medicine that you mentioned (Vicks Nyquil) tastes very bad but not poisonous :). pharmaceutical manufacturing companies have to follow stringent FDA regulations here.
Cyrus Howell
November 26, 2012 9:42 pm
There is no excuse for that happening.
Cyrus Howell
November 26, 2012 9:44 pm
Good One.
A. Naseer
November 26, 2012 11:55 pm
Corruption has many faces, apathy, inefficiency and plain old greed just being a few. Do we not know beyond any doubt by now, how most elements of our free and independant media serve special interests. Good job DAWN for not naming names here. There is going to be blood on your hands when an innocent life is lost because you decided not to do your duty, just as the inefficient government has not done anything after the cardiology drug fiasco. They have been busy preparing to doom us for another by sticking to power for another 5 years, what is your excuse???
November 27, 2012 4:36 am
Accident happens in develop nations also. And there goverment also hide or misinterpret in try avoid panic or may be finically reason. But Pakistani people lost all the hope and praying for military dictator ship and start blaming goverment . Our only hope is democracy. Our people unfortunately overlook all the killing in the name of religion and race. Which is only and only themself to blame.
Cyrus Howell
November 26, 2012 10:00 pm
If the people can set the cinemas on fire, they can set the pharmacies on fire.
Pakistani Barbie
November 27, 2012 1:42 pm
Any drug in overdose can be fatal but pharmaceutical companies are also to be blamed. They create medicines and than down the road they make recalls and take them off the shelves. I don't know about Pak but if this can happen in Canada, I am sure worse things like jalee medicines can happen in Pak.
November 27, 2012 7:32 am
Faisal, There is nothing wrong with the medicine you mentioned above. The drug test report has come out clear. The deceased consumed a fake product which was NOT Tyno? Get your facts in line.
November 27, 2012 7:34 am
The name of the medicine has been made public however the medicine is safe. Drug results show there is nothing wrong with it. Please act more intelligent and realise that the deceased were drug addicts who consumed something of a completely different nature.
Abdul Karim
November 27, 2012 2:08 am
Actually if you look at the GDP and economic situation during military rules, it was far better than the so called Demon-cracy rule. If it was democracy that we saw in the last four years, then you really has to be deaf and dumb to continue it.
Pakistani Barbie
November 27, 2012 2:52 am
@Ahmed: I like your quote, it's so true
Cyrus Howell
November 26, 2012 10:23 pm
"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. -- President Franklin D. Roosevelt . How odd. The Army is not a democracy. "Men. If the Army wanted you to have a wife they would have issued you one."
Cyrus Howell
November 26, 2012 10:05 pm
In your case you mean you abandoned Pakistan many years ago.
Cyrus Howell
November 26, 2012 9:58 pm
Innocent society?
From lonely planet
November 26, 2012 9:08 pm
You are right , it is messy ..That's why Pakistan army is not interested to takeover now.
November 26, 2012 9:04 pm
Things to consider: Why not release the name of the cough drop? How are you going to protect someone who does not watch news? Why emphasize that the person killed are drug addict? Aren't they Pakistani? Is this made spuriously by a local company by putting a label of national company? If so make sure to put this out as soon as possible to alleviate panic. Make sure to have a transparent investigation..
Torontonian Desi
November 26, 2012 8:50 pm
Dude, I couldn't agree with you more. It's shameful, but it's true.
November 26, 2012 8:46 pm
tyno cough syrup
November 26, 2012 7:05 am
Health is not our priority. Our priority is corruption so it will continue.
November 26, 2012 7:34 pm
yes ur rite mehreen--but i think its better 2 b safe than sorry----just dont buy a cough syrup and do without it or if u buy 1, buy a foreign one imported from Europe.
November 26, 2012 10:04 am
I am surprised why Dawn could not report the brand name of cough syrup that killed or supposedly killed 13 people so that other people should at least avoid.
November 26, 2012 7:53 pm
November 26, 2012 3:49 pm
Thankyou faisal,you have more courage than this damn reporer or tv channels....
November 26, 2012 2:56 pm
It's a shame it's a sick situation people in Pakistan are dying like as if death is like a candy for kids that everyone is enjoying eating it .......bombs , target killings , kidnap , murders , suicide attacks , sectarian killings of Shias , gang wars in Karachi , Taliban attacks, acid attacks , fake medicines , rats eating babies in hospital . .................what is this place ........Pakistan ka mutlab kya?
S. Farooq Ali
November 26, 2012 12:01 pm
DRAP has come but no remedy is visible to avoid such mishaps the reason being that their is no control on sale outlets they are being run without registered pharmacist and any tom dick and harry can buy any drug in any quantity without prescription.
November 26, 2012 6:15 pm
This mixture was cleared only for export or sale outside Punjab by Punjab Health Dept and it was illegal to sell it in Lahore. Heads must roll.
November 26, 2012 5:05 pm
The name has been given on the Express Tribune site.
November 26, 2012 6:00 pm
Thousands fake madicens being used particularly rural areas and also in cities remote locatuions under the connivence of drug authorities. it is noted hundered number of medicenes and companies being registered in present regime. and all these fake companies doing business by giving handsome share to registered madical prectioners. I think that time has come to play roll by each and every pakistani to save the country.
November 26, 2012 3:16 pm
Is the name of the syrup highly confidential so that more people can use it and die ???????????
Najma Rafique Ansari
November 26, 2012 1:44 pm
Its an irony one can do anything in Pakistan and can never be questioned. What a shame. So many people die daily and we are happy with this sham democracy where the elite enjoy their might. God save Pakistan. Welcome military again.
November 26, 2012 7:24 pm
You showed how much you care about Pakistan by leaving.
November 26, 2012 5:49 pm
I read the news item and all the comments. No body has mentioned the government regulations. The government is supposed to have regulations controlling the production and sale of food and drug items, and also strictly enforce them. But that, perhaps, is too much to ask in Pakistan. The government funtionaries are so busy in corruption that they do not have time for other things. There is no planning of any kind for anything in Pakistan. They start talking about the incident after the fact. Even the hospitals and doctors tend to take care of patients, after death. I left Pakistan more than 40 years ago to settle in USA. Knowing what is happening in Pakistan today, I am thankful to God that He guided me to make the right decision. It seems advisable for everybody to do the same, if possible, to get out of that hell. If some one has seen Pakistan, he has pretty good idea how the hell is going to look like.
November 26, 2012 5:43 pm
DAWN needs to learn a lesson in political correctness. By suggesting that these people were "Drug Abusers", Dawn is more or less legitimizing their deaths! And hence stressing that this is nothing for us to get up from our comfy chairs. Might i suggest "the VICTIMS were thought to have had, had a history of substance abuse"...
November 26, 2012 11:41 am
Bring back military rule. Pakistanis also deserve a rule of law. The present so called democratic rule has failed both at the federal level as also at the state level.
November 26, 2012 2:34 pm
i left pakistan many years ago to settle in usa, yes i am well off here, wonder how things have fallen back for worse there, does any body care?
November 26, 2012 2:05 pm
Ethics hold no weight, if they fail to protect the public interest and inform the innocent society at large. :)
November 26, 2012 3:08 pm
One may understand and expect such approach from the government but Its really pity that the reporter wasn't daring enough to mention the name of pharmaceutical companies.
November 26, 2012 10:43 pm
10 Palestinians die - all hell break loose and all pakistanis come out on the street. You kill your own people due to your own corruption. no one comes out. Why ? A life is a life. Why no protests ?
G Malik
November 26, 2012 3:56 pm
What the hell, why shy away from mentioning name of this killer syrup? save some lives if you can? whats wrong again with health ministry and do we have a health minister this time or we have jack of all trades Shahbaz So Sharif only?
Pakistani Barbie
November 27, 2012 12:34 am
They sell poisonous cough syrups here in Canada as well...such as Vicks Nyquil..
Najma Rafique Ansari
November 26, 2012 1:45 pm
Good job Faisal.
November 26, 2012 6:51 pm
go back to pakistan if u r really concerned
November 26, 2012 2:06 pm
Thanks Faisal. However, this is the duty of heath ministry to announce the name and company of the drug for authenticity. This may save some lives by avoiding the toxic drug and the consumer continue buying the good drug for their relief.
Jamshed Khan
November 26, 2012 2:26 pm
In complete agreement with you, Mr Suhail. Dawn has been equally disappointing in not naming the culprits..!
November 26, 2012 3:37 pm
News are like that in this era
Muhammad Farooq, ON, Canada
November 27, 2012 12:48 am
this is an example of careless reporting where the name of such deadly medicine has been omitted
November 26, 2012 3:00 pm
Pakistan has been through 4 failed military rule and is in present state so how do you expect military to be solution to anything ?
November 26, 2012 12:08 pm
Please have the courage to print the names of those who are involved in the heinous crimes. No matter what rank or file they belong to................. how long we are going to protect our elites and well connected.
November 26, 2012 12:04 pm
Journalistic Ethics ;) such are the cases where it is most needed
November 26, 2012 12:05 pm
Dawn should have named the brand ideally with picture of the said mixture bottle. That would be better ethical approach.
Yasmeen Baloch
November 26, 2012 7:19 pm
Salam to Dawn for not publishing the name of the syrup...Excellent journalism at its peak in Pakistan!!
Jamshed Khan
November 26, 2012 7:32 am
The authorities must disclose, if they have even a tiny bit of honesty left in them, the brand name of the drug taken by the victims and the manufacturers of these syrups.
Vishnu Dutta
November 26, 2012 12:23 pm
Dear Dawn, If you dont disclose the name of the brand then there will be more innocent people totally unaware of the poison and will consume it. Please do your nation a favor and print the brand name. Thanks, A concerned human
November 26, 2012 7:40 pm
Well said. khadim-e-Aala you better step down and give place to some body more deserving. This is a request from a common Pakistani who is feels sad about his country and people.
November 26, 2012 12:18 pm
what good is this report to anyone if the brand is not you think you are saving more ppl from good as not reporting at all!
November 27, 2012 12:55 am
coz that was killed by non muslimi people and here its under ka mamla under dabao gade mude ukhado mat miya tum
not so concerned pakistani
November 26, 2012 1:32 pm
Its Pakistan we are talking about...there has to be at least more than 10 deaths to make it to the news and another 100 to disclose the cause, period!
November 26, 2012 1:33 pm
Pakistan is the only place in the world where the culprits get away with virtually anything. Heads should roll not only in the pharma company which produced this syrup of death but also people from the health department should be hanged publicly for their negligence but alas no such thing would happen.
November 27, 2012 12:12 am
They could have been anyone ..... young, old rich or poor. Cough syrup is a commonly taken medicine by anyone suffering from coughs, therefore the fact that most drug addicts died does not justify or spare the ones who are responsible
Cyrus Rasheed
November 26, 2012 7:08 pm
Why is it that the names of the perpetrators are not disclosed? This is bad reporting...
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