At least, 16 people were killed in Pakistan’s Lahore city after they took a toxic cough syrup, authorities said. Police have shut three pharmacies that stocked the deadly syrup and a drug company that reportedly manufactured the decoction.
The deaths were reported in Shahdra region and victims were mostly addicts who consumed the cough syrup to get high, a Pakistani television channel reported, quoting the Shahdra police station chief Atif Zulfiqar.
Cough syrups - available as over-the-counter medicine - are used as a cheap substitute for getting high by the drug addicts in several countries.
"At least 16 people, mostly drug addicts, have died after taking the toxic syrup," Zulfiqar said, updating an earlier death toll of 13, AFP has stated.
"Some of the victims were found dead in a graveyard where addicts used to take different kind of drugs," Zulfiqar told AFP news agency.
According to the media reports, victims aged between 15 and 45 years of age had a history of drug addiction. The victims fell sick after consuming the cough syrup and deaths occurred between Friday and Sunday, the BBC has reported quoting the police officials.
Six people admitted to the local hospital reporting sick after consuming the toxic cough syrup were saved and discharged after treatment.
The chief minister of Punjab province has ordered an enquiry into the incident and has sought a report within 72-hours. Authorities have raided several pharmacies and seized the stocks of the syrup. Police have arrested the owners of three pharmacies and the drug factory.
In a related incident, about 100 people suffering heart ailments had died in Lahore after taking a faulty medicine in January.