Sri Lanka ban on Corex cough remedy temporary: health minister

Oct 19, 2012 (LBO) – A sudden ban on the sale of Corex, a cough syrup originally formulated by the US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer which has brought relief to tens of thousands of sufferers, is temporary, Sri Lanka’s health minister said. The sale of Corex branded medicine variants were banned following the deaths of several customers who abused it.

“The drug was banned pending an investigation into the deaths,” health minister Maithripala Sirisena told reporters, when asked whether other medicines made by other firms with the same active ingredients would also be banned.

“Several doctors in fact called and complained about the ban saying it was a very effective remedy,” he said.

Corex is produced in Sri Lanka by Astron, a former Pfizer unit that was sold down through a management buyout.

Active ingredients in cough syrups include chlorpheniramine maleate with antihistamine properties and codeine phosphate.

A variant Corex-D comes with Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant.

Cough medicines with Dextromethorphan,ephedrine and pseudoephedrine which also have cough suppressant or decongestant properties have been abused by some for recreational use over the years.