Karachi: Seventeen people, most of them drug addicts, died in Lahore of poisoning after they consumed an adulterated, toxic cough syrup prompting authorities to seal the manufacturing factory and the retail outlets.
The men died a slow death and some of their deaths were reported to hospitals in Shahdra town, an old neighbourhood of the city.
The series of deaths began after six drug addicts were found dead in a graveyard of the area. Local police officer Atif Zulfiqar told the media that all of them were addicts and empty bottles of the cough syrup were found scattered in the yard.
Six more deaths were reported in a hospital where the patients were brought in an unconscious state and died later.
The police officer said that three pharmacies in the area were closed down and their owners taken into custody for further investigation.
A minister of the provincial government said that an inquiry had begun and the factory was sealed until the investigatio is completed.
The doctors at Mayo Hospital, the largest government hospital, said 20 victims aged 15 to 45 had been brought after falling ill. Most of them were drug addicts.
Some of the people died at home, television channels reported.
Irregular pharmaceutical practices have resulted in fatalities before. Some months back more than 100 people died due to improper formulae in medicines. All those who died were heart patients and had been taking medicine to stabilise the heartbeat.
Also recently, 14 people died after consuming locally made liquor.