A paramedic looks over patients who consumed toxic cough syrup. They are being treated in a ward of a hospital in Gujranwala, Dec 29, 2012. — Photo by AFP

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday took notice of the deaths that have been attributed to the consumption of a cough syrup, DawnNews reported.

Justice Tajammul Hasan of the LHC issued notices summoning secretary health and other concerned officials in response to a petition filed by Tariq Javed.

The officials have been directed to appear in court on Jan 1, 2013.

The 33 deaths from the cough syrup occurred in Gujranwala and villages surrounding the city, Abdul Jabbar Shaheen, the top administrative official in Gujranwala, had stated on Saturday.

Another 54 people were being treated at hospitals in the city who are also believed to have consumed the syrup.

Chemical samples collected from the victims’ stomachs contained dextromethorphan, a synthetic morphine derivative used in cough syrup that can have mind-altering effects if consumed in large quantities, the official had stated on Saturday. He had added that it was being investigated whether the people affected by the syrup in Gujranwala drank too much of it, or whether there was a problem with the medicine itself, he said.

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