This is for the second time in less than a month that a deadly cough syrup had taken a big human toll in two major cities of Punjab, Lahore and Gujranwala. Earlier, over 20 persons had lost their lives after drinking Tyno syrup in Shahdra town, a suburb of the metropolis. Now 33 persons have reportedly died in Gujranwala reportedly after consuming a larger quantity of the said syrup. It is a pity that despite clear orders of the Chief Minister to remove it from the market, the killer syrup remains available for sale over the counter. There is a more dangerous aspect to the tragedy. A large number of medicines, prohibited for sale without doctor’s prescription, can be had from any medical store.

With ban on the sale of liquor, lower middle class addicts have shifted to taking cough cyrup, which contains a small quantity of alcohol as an essential ingredient, in a far higher quantity than prescribed. A decade ago, Corex cough syrup was banned for similar reason. It is unfortunate that the media and concerned authorities have failed to educate public about the harm the syrup taken more than the required quantity can cause. The CM has ordered an inquiry. Let us hope its findings can help find a solution. One way would be to prohibit the sale of such drugs without doctor’s prescription.