Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena today instructed National Drugs and Cosmetics Devices Authority (NDCDA) Chairman Dr. Hemantha Benaragama to make arrangements to prohibit the production, distribution and sale of cough syrups under the COREX label.
These instructions came after five people, who had consumed excessive doses of COREX for the purpose of getting a ‘Kick’ out of it, had died and one man was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital in a serious condition.
Dr. Benaragama said the cough syrup COREX was prescribed for adults and children to fight colds and coughs. A pharmacist is not allowed to sell this syrup over the counter without a prescription.
“Preliminary investigations have revealed that people drink COREX in excessive doses as it contains chemicals with alcoholic and sedative effects which can be fatal,” Dr. Benaragama said and added that some pharmacists were known to sell COREX without a prescription but this was illegal and all pharmacists have been informed to withdraw COREX from their shelves.
He said countrywide raids would be carried out in the next few days to arrest errant pharmacists.
Meanwhile, Health Ministry spokesman Dharma Wanniaarachchi said the minister had instructed Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilaka to conduct an inquiry and submit a report on this matter and circumstances which led to the five deaths and another in a critical condition allegedly caused by the excessive use of COREX . (Sandun A. Jayasekera)