Toxic Cough Syrup Kills 16 Pakistanis

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LAHORE, Pakistan -- At least 16 people died in the eastern city of Lahore after drinking toxic cough syrup, and a homicide investigation was opened involving the factory it came from, the police said Monday.

Another six victims were seriously ill in the hospital, two in critical condition, after drinking the syrup, which was sold under the brand name Tyno, said Atif Zulfiqar, a local police officer. Doctors said the dead were between 20 and 45 years old.

Government officials sealed the factory where the syrup had been manufactured and ordered the seizure of all outstanding stocks from shops.

Pakistan has been plagued by deaths from adulterated medicine, including a wave of at least 100 deaths this year involving a tainted heart drug.

Cough syrup has been at the center of several mass poisonings around the world in recent years, often involving industrial solvents used as cheap sweetener for the liquid. The effects of such poisoning can be widened because cough syrup is frequently abused by people who use it to get high. The Lahore police said they believed that at least some of the dead in this case were addicts as well.

Khawaja Salman Rafique, an adviser to Punjab Province's chief health minister, said, "We will take all possible action against the culprits."

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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