Toxic cough syrup: Punjab imposes ban on Tyno, stock seized

Published: November 26, 2012

A Pakistani health official holds a bottle of toxic cough syrup at a hospital in Lahore on November 26, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: The Government of Punjab has imposed a ban on cough syrup Tyno, Express News reported on Monday. At least 16 people had died in Lahore after all of them had consumed the same toxic cough medicine.

All stock has been seized by the government and the factory has been sealed as well. There are reports that three men have also been arrested.

The deaths occurred in the 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.

“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.

Punjab Health Advisor 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.

The provincial Health Department had earlier submitted an initial report to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif regarding the cough syrup.

Sharif had ordered that the department look into the matter and submit a report within 72 hours. Following the orders, the authority raided 151 places and seized stock of the poisonous syrup.

The report states that none of the seized syrups were expired.

The police had arrested the owner of a medical store from where the cough syrup was obtained.

A murder case was earlier registered against the pharmaceutical company and pharmacy owners as well.

Cough syrup is often used for inebriation purposes and is sold as over-the-counter medicine at many pharmacies.

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Reader Comments (51)

  • Rana
    Nov 26, 2012 - 11:16AM

    Thank you ET, for mentioning the Brand!!!

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  • AS
    Nov 26, 2012 - 11:17AM

    PML N is responsible.
    from PTI

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  • Feedom Seeker
    Nov 26, 2012 - 11:26AM

    People use such cough syrup as replacement of other drugs. Most of consumers are addicted to them. Government should act against not only this co. but others too who are engaged in this drugs business.

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  • Dr Zain Shaikh
    Nov 26, 2012 - 11:46AM

    what is the name of pharmacetical company and its owners? has the crime established or not? people are expecting even handed justice–

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  • faisal
    Nov 26, 2012 - 2:00PM

    how this syrup got approval from drug approval authourities and if not expired it means its contents are poisonous ……….selling drugs without approval is only possible in pakistan.

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  • Adi
    Nov 26, 2012 - 3:02PM

    Life is so cheap here :( even cough syrups are killing us….

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  • zubair
    Nov 26, 2012 - 3:27PM

    Government of Punjab should seriously consider deregulating sale of Alcohol .Citizens should not be pushed into getting a buzz from Cough Syrup…

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  • ALI
    Nov 26, 2012 - 3:38PM

    Punjab Govt Drug control authority is responsible to this killing. This authority work under Health Ministry. And CM is health Minster .

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  • Emtee
    Nov 26, 2012 - 4:18PM

    Let’s just ban all medication shall we? Just because a bunch of people want to get high on them! All the medication my parents take to stay healthy, should just be banned…in fact, let’s close all the pharmaceutical companies too. I mean, who needs drugs to stay healthy?!

    What is wrong with our population? Has anyone been folloiwing the story? The people that died, OVERDOSED, and were DRUG ADDICTS. The medication was also tampered with by store owners! I doubt that ANY pharmaceutical company in rhe world endorses drug abuse. Why can’t we take a stand and ask for rules imposed for over the counter drug sales.Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Nov 26, 2012 - 4:24PM

    REKO PHARMACAL (PVT) LTD.

    Avoid other drugs as well.

    http://druginfosys.com/CompanySimple.aspx?Code=170&type=1

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  • fatima
    Nov 26, 2012 - 4:46PM

    @AS: O plz!!!!
    Wat nonsense! i’m not a supporter of PML(N), still a mature party should wait for the unveiling of the truth. Naming, blaming and shaming specially when nothing has yet been probed into is not right. Secondly in this country it is very easy to buy consciences. Conspiracies are being run here to hit the country’s economy and ruin the local industry. We must be patient.

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  • Nov 26, 2012 - 4:52PM

    In our country the seasonal affective disorder is also not highlighted! which is sad

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  • ali
    Nov 26, 2012 - 5:24PM

    PMLN’s misgovernance!

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  • Khalid
    Nov 26, 2012 - 5:38PM

    16 people dies, and most of them are drug addicts. Why you can’t have prohibition on alcohol removed so that whoever wants to drink can do it safely. Why can’t we do like for example Qatar, which is a Muslim country but anyone who wants to drink can get a permit and is allowed to drink in private. You are caught only if caught drunk.

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  • Trippy Lucifer
    Nov 26, 2012 - 8:18PM

    @Khalid:
    It is codeine not alcohol. Save your words for Sialkot bootleggers.

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  • Admi
    Nov 26, 2012 - 9:11PM

    How many deaths it will take again to remove these micky mouse factories? What happened to last years killer medicine factories? fate of this one will not be different if that factory is still functioning.

    You accept it or not, this is utter government failure yet again! and someone has to resign over this!

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  • AS
    Nov 26, 2012 - 9:33PM

    @ali:
    you must be PTI man, Weldon i hope palestine problem is also due to PMLNRecommend

  • Reader
    Nov 26, 2012 - 9:35PM

    @Khalid:

    So we can have better yet drunk drivers, rapists, murderers, gangs. There are a ton of problems that come with alcohol, not to mention the Taliban virus is going to step up its attacks everywhere. Our problem is people’s incompetence and dishonesty.

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  • Yellow
    Nov 26, 2012 - 9:39PM

    @AS, you must be PML-N under disguise, PTI doesnt make sure immature statements like you

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  • Kamran Naqvi
    Nov 26, 2012 - 10:29PM

    So many people got killed due to overdose of cough syrup… When will the government & National Assembly pass & enforce the Drug Regulatory Law ???
    When will the PPP planted Tehreek-e-ilzam stop blaming Punjab govt?

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  • EnKay
    Nov 26, 2012 - 11:04PM

    It’s not right to point fingers when nobody has proof. If the cough syrup was “poisonous” it would not have been approved by the FDA or whoever it is that controls what drugs get approved. Also, the people that took the cough syrup overdosed AND were drug addicts.
    Has it occurred to anyone that the cough syrup was rigged by the pharmacies that were selling it?

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  • Humaira Adnan
    Nov 26, 2012 - 11:21PM

    Astonishingly PTI and PPP have not yet blames PMLN for this mishap.

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  • -N
    Nov 26, 2012 - 11:34PM

    It’s not right to point fingers when nobody has proof. If the cough syrup was “poisonous” it would not have been approved by the FDA or whoever it is that controls what drugs get approved. Also, the people that took the cough syrup overdosed AND were drug addicts.
    Has it occurred to anyone that the cough syrup was rigged by the pharmacies that were selling it?

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  • Anonymous
    Nov 27, 2012 - 12:01AM

    @Rizwan and Dr Zain, are you fully aware of the fact that an overdose of any medicine can be fatal? There have been 6000 cases of deaths due to exceeding allowed amounts of cough syrups in the US alone. Is the company held responsible if a consumer admittedly using such medicines for intoxication dies as a result? It’s unfortunate but it’s a cheap alternative to get high, and people willingly take it. A consumer’s mistake simply cannot be blamed on the company. And it certainly doesn’t mean the company’s products are tainted. The biggest flaw lies within our own public; the media will feed us what they wish and we will allow ourselves to be brainwashed. If there is evidence, they have a case. However there is none. Baseless story, no facts and pure exaggeration. Applaud yourselves for being a nation ready to believe whatever it is that it fed to you.

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  • s.a.abbas
    Nov 27, 2012 - 12:04AM

    this kind of act is very sad.why we are playing with life of a peoples for only some money.
    tyno cough is made by reko pharma multan road lahore.becare full before use products of this pharmacetucial company

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  • Anonymous
    Nov 27, 2012 - 12:06AM

    @Rizwan and Dr Zain, are you fully aware of the fact that an overdose of any medicine can be fatal? There have been 6000 deaths due to exceeding allowed amounts of cough syrups in the US alone. Is the company held responsible if a consumer admittedly using such medicines for intoxication dies as a result? It’s unfortunate but it’s a cheap alternative to get high, and people willingly take it. A consumer’s mistake simply cannot be blamed on the company. And it certainly doesn’t mean the company’s products are tainted. The biggest flaw lies within our own public; the media will feed us what they wish and we will allow ourselves to be brainwashed. If there is evidence, they have a case. However there is none. Baseless story, no facts and pure exaggeration. Applaud yourselves for being a nation ready to believe whatever it is that it fed to you.

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  • -N
    Nov 27, 2012 - 12:37AM

    I absolutely agree with anonymous. You can’t blame a company for a consumer’s actions. Media people are vultures, scouting for a good story, a good read but sadly their vicious words are influencing the public to put blame on the wrong people.

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  • NS
    Nov 27, 2012 - 1:02AM

    Before poking blame at the pharmaceutical company, I would like to see some solid proof. Tests conducted at the laboratory have confirmed that the syrup manufactured by the pharmaceutical is clear of any toxins. This tragedy is a result of meddling by intermediaries who should be convicted. It is NOT a coincidence that all the affected individuals of this syrup were drug-users who drank cough syrup for the sole purpose of intoxication. Before letting the media guide your thoughts, stop for a moment to consider the facts at hand and make an objective judgment. The real victim here is an innocent pharmaceutical company whose products have been used and trusted for over 50 years and contributed to the good health of the population.

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  • Mirza
    Nov 27, 2012 - 2:12AM

    Who needs WMD when we have medicines that kill? Punjab which is 65% of the population is best goverened. If you don’t believe me ask Sharif Brothers!

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  • Maria
    Nov 27, 2012 - 4:59AM

    @Adi: If addicts want to abuse medicines, we shouldn’t just blame the drug manufacturer. This is not the same issue as the bad medicines manufactured in Karachi and sold in Punjab to the cardiology hospitals. There needs to be a campaign against people abusing drugs but sadly the same thing goes on in North America where people are addicted to vicodan and die from overdose.

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  • Naazir
    Nov 27, 2012 - 10:33AM

    It saddens me when we as a nation instantly jump to pointing fingers at each other without any facts with us. Shame on those especially media who is trying to discredit the company and the product and shame on the government’s incompetent staff for not being able to control the drug addicts and fake medicine manufacturers and is only out for point scoring for upcoming elections. For all ignorant people accusing the company please do some research to find out that Reko Pharmacal has been in business serving humanity and providing quality drug consisently for over past 50 years and all of its drugs are approved and the company enjoys each and every required standard affiliation. An overdose of ANY medication can be fatal and this news is as stupid as “man buys vehicle, speeds on M.M Alam road at 160 kph, meets a fatal accident and registers a murder case against the vehicle manufacturer” take grip of your thinking and dont be fed by these rating hungry media vultures.

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  • Naazir
    Nov 27, 2012 - 10:52AM

    It saddens me when we as a nation instantly jump to pointing fingers at each other without any facts with us. Shame on those especially media who is trying to discredit the company and the product and shame on the government’s incompetent staff for not being able to control the drug addicts and fake medicine manufacturers and is only out for point scoring for upcoming elections. For all ignorant people accusing the company please do some research to find out that Reko Pharmacal has been in business serving humanity and providing quality drug consisently for over past 50 years and all of its drugs are approved and the company enjoys each and every required standard affiliation. An overdose of ANY medication can be fatal and this news is as stupid as “man buys vehicle, speeds on M.M Alam road at 160 kph, meets a fatal accident and registers a murder case against the vehicle manufacturer” take grip of your thinking and dont be fed by these rating hungry media vultures

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  • Smarter than you
    Nov 27, 2012 - 12:07PM

    Just read this on DAWN. It clearly states the reports by the government have cleared the medicine of being contaminated.
    http://epaper.dawn.com/DetailNews.php?StoryText=27112012001001

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  • Nov 27, 2012 - 12:07PM

    Health depart has failed to show efficiency in this regard,
    so the minister for health is responsible also,
    health minister must be resign.Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 27, 2012 - 12:11PM

    @Anon You are the pharmaceutical company and I am the consumer, I take a number of sleeping pills and I die as a result, am I the one at fault or are you?Recommend

  • Nov 27, 2012 - 12:39PM

    The provincial Health Department had earlier submitted an initial report to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif regarding the cough syrup.

    Health Depart,really responsible for tragic incident consisting on number of deaths.It is not approperate that a person have more than one ministry.

    Intoxicating syrup and other like medicines are available in the open market.owner of the medical store keep such medicines in a secret corner and sale,black sheeps of the Depart have full knowledge about them but deliberately ignored due to secret handshake.

    Minister for health should resign,it is best for good political tradition.

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  • Nov 27, 2012 - 3:52PM

    License must be cancel of all those dealing with intoxicating syrup and other like items and punished them according to law.

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  • Ali
    Nov 27, 2012 - 3:54PM

    @Anon:
    It does appear that your medical knowledge (although being a claimed Doctor at Jinnah Hospital) seems rather weak. What confirmation do you have that these patients died as a result of the Tyno Cough syrup? Have you had a chance to do a post-mortem and realize the TRUE reason for their deaths? Do you believe every single thing that is fed to you through the Media without using your own sense? Being a Doctor and analyzing patients that come to you for treatment, I would think it is beyond unethical of you to point fingers at a pharmaceutical company which from my research has been operational for 50 years. Have you heard of any other such cases from their end?
    Please do your research before you decide to put forward such accusations on a public forum. I would believe that as educated doctors, you can do much better.

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  • SKM
    Nov 27, 2012 - 3:57PM

    @Sultan Ahmed:
    Great. Lets just shut down the entire pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan than shall we? Because obviously drug addicts overdosing on a perfectly safe cough syrup is the fault of the pharmaceuticals! The intelligence of our country continues to baffle and disgust me.

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  • Nov 27, 2012 - 3:58PM

    Health depart is duty bound to check and see every medical store
    time and time again on a permanent bases,if really wanted to remove
    this menace from the society.

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  • Nov 27, 2012 - 4:28PM

    @SKM:
    tanks,the persons run such pharamaceutical industries and manufacture intoxicated medicines are enemy of the people and the state adopting a legal way strictly,rooted them out.It is dire need of the day.
    They don’t love with country and the people,they love with money only money,they derserve no concession or leniency.

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  • Naazir
    Nov 27, 2012 - 4:34PM

    Just like media was all out bashing the image of the company on false information, i think its time for media to owe up to their mistake and apologize to all its readers for providing false information based on ZERO facts. All news and test results are now confirming that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the syrup whereas all news channels had labelled it as “toxic” and tarnished the image of the company. It takes several year and unimagineable hard work to build up a company with such good repute and relations to serve the humanity and just seconds for fame and ratings hungry media persons to ruin it all. No wonder we as a country have never succeeded in any walk of life. Absolutely disgusting and immature behaviour displayed by media persons. The government should be focusing on cracking down on fake medicine manufacturers and be able to help the drug addicts in other constructive ways.

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  • Nov 27, 2012 - 4:45PM

    Ninty nine percent medical store dealing with intoxicating syrup and medicines,
    if these are prohibited by law,what the drug inspectors are doing in such circumstance,only receive huge money from the national : exchequer.

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  • Nov 27, 2012 - 4:49PM

    Evil deeds has been assembled around my home land,
    Allah Almighty bless it trillion times,Ameen.

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  • Abdul hafeez
    Nov 27, 2012 - 4:59PM

    Tyno syp is not fatal,its over use may be harmful,Punjab govt should not sealed the company and same product as not chemists,Recommend

  • SKM
    Nov 27, 2012 - 9:13PM

    @Sultan Ahmed:
    I realize that most corporations run are driven by money. However, I believe that pharmaceuticals are highly regulated by the Govt. It has been stressed upon that the cough syrup produced was NOT toxic. I fail to understand how such a ‘patriot’ of our dear country is bent upon tarnishing the pharmaceutical industry. I think an apology from the media is necessary given how they are successfully ruining the image of a pharmaceutical without any evidence whatsoever. For your information Mr Sultan, now a fake factory in Shahdara town has been found which has said to be producing fake syrups, hence the cough syrup consumed by the deceased was from the FAKE factory. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

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  • usama
    Nov 27, 2012 - 10:48PM

    this company should be banned the directors tried for murder. but i guess the influential owners of the company would never face any prosecution from the authorities on their pay roll.

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  • AK
    Nov 27, 2012 - 11:09PM

    @Anon:
    Dr Sb, I think you should read this article and offer an apology for your accusation

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/471721/nothing-wrong-with-tyno-cough-syrup-victims-overdosed-report/

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  • Inam
    Nov 27, 2012 - 11:43PM

    @usama:
    Have you bothered to check your facts before making such a massive statement? All DTL reports have cleared the medicine Tyno and this has been done through very transparent means. 100′s of bottles have been tested by the govt and declared as ‘fine’. It is unfortunate that despite being educated individuals, we still like to throw around such ridiculous accusations.

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  • Dec 14, 2012 - 1:55PM

    This is why you don’t bother with this kind of medicine. Its all borderline toxic anyway, this time they just pushed it over the edge.Recommend

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