GUJRANWALA/TOBA TEK SINGH - The onslaught of the toxic cough syrup continued for the fourth consecutive day on Saturday as 12 more people gave in to the ‘assassin’, taking the death 44 across Punjab.

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The alarming rise in the death toll due to the consumption of ‘killer’ cough syrup Dextro Methrophine is continued unabated while DCO Najam Shah has formed 11 teams of the health Department officials to control the distribution and sale of the killer syrup under the supervision of DO Health Dr Mahjabeen.

Rescue 1122 official Nasir while talking to The Nation said that 15 victims were brought to the Civil Hospital on Saturday of whom several expired on the way to the hospital. The deceased included Younis, a resident of Wahdat Colony, Kamran of Awan Chowk, Qasim of Kacha Khiali, Mohsin of Qila Dedar singh while Ramzan, Allah Ditta, Saleem Saghar and two unidentified victims from Gharjhak,” he added.

Meanwhile, DO Health Dr Mahjabeen to this scribe that 11 teams had been formed by the DCO to check supply of the syrup. She said that 15 medical stores in different parts of Gujranwala and a warehouse on Gill Road had sealed. She said that 3 medical stores had been sealed off in Aroop Town, 6 in Nandupur Town, 4 in Qila Dedar singh while one medical store each had been sealed in Kamonki and Wazirabad respectively. The DO Health claimed that a huge stock of 7,700 bottles of the ‘killer’ syrup had been confiscated from a warehouse on Gill Road which was owned by Haseeb Khalid.

In TOBA TEK SINGH, two more persons died of the toxic cough syrup here on Saturday, taking the death toll to four here in district.

Earlier, two persons had died on Friday after consuming the killer cough syrup.

The fresh casualties on Saturday included 20-year-old Nadeem, a labourer, a resident of Chak Athwal and an unidentified 50-year-old man. According to the relatives of Nadeem, the deceased was a drug addict and had consumed a bottle of the cough syrup at once. The other deceased was found dead in the waiting shed at bus stop outside TMA Park and an empty cough syrup bottle was found beside the body.

When contacted, EDO Health Dr Ashraf Javed denied that cough syrup was the reason behind the deaths of all the four deceased.

He claimed that all Tyno syrup stock had already been confiscated by the health department from all medical stored, adding that 14 samples of different types of cough syrup had been obtained from medical stores which had also been sent to laboratory for examination.