At least 16 people, mostly drug addicts seeking a fix, have died after drinking toxic cough syrup in an eastern Pakistani city, officials said Saturday.
The deaths started occurring Wednesday in the industrial city of Gujranwala, some 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of Lahore, with most of
the victims drug addicts who took the syrup for intoxication, 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 doctor Anwar Aman told AFP.
The victims were between 20 to 40 years old and a majority had a history of drug addiction, Aman said, adding that so far the culprit syrup has 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 health department have started inquiries and investigations into the deaths," he added.
Last month at least 19 people were killed in Lahore after drinking toxic cough syrup.
In January around 100 heart patients died in Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city, after taking locally-made tainted medicine.