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Toxic cough syrup kills 16 in Pakistan

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At least 16 people, mostly drug addicts seeking a fix, have died after drinking toxic cough syrup in an eastern Pakistani city.

The deaths started occurring on Wednesday in the industrial city of Gujranwala, about 70 kilometres north of Lahore, police and doctors said.

"We have received 54 patients at hospital who said their condition deteriorated after taking cough syrups and 16 of them have died," local hospital chief Anwar Aman told AFP on Saturday.

The victims were aged between 20 and 40 and most had a history of drug addiction, Aman said, adding that so far the culprit syrup had not been identified.

Senior police official Azam Mehr confirmed the toll and said samples of cough syrups available at local pharmacies have been collected and sent to laboratories.

"Police and the health department have started inquiries and investigations into the deaths," Mehr said.

Last month at least 19 people were killed in Lahore after drinking toxic cough syrup.

In January about 100 heart patients died in Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city, after taking locally made tainted medicine.

AFP mp 29-12-12 2000

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