Saturday, January 28, 2023

Cough syrup allegedly killed 18 kids in Uzbekistan, not sold in India


Noida: The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation and Uttar Pradesh Drug Control department jointly initiated inspections of Marion Biotech, an Indian drug maker whose paediatric syrup, exported to Uzbekistan, has been described as contaminated with a toxic substance and linked to 18 child deaths in Uzbekistan.

The company’s legal representative said that the manufacturing of Marion Biotech’s Dok-1 Max has stopped ‘for now’ as the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation began a probe in connection with the death of 18 children in Uzbekistan allegedly linked to the cough syrup.

Speaking to reporters, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said further action would be taken based on the inspection of the pharma company, under a cloud after the Uzbekistan health ministry’s allegation that the children died after consuming Dok-1 Max.

Marion Biotech does not sell Dok-1 Max in India and its only export has been to Uzbekistan, an Uttar Pradesh government official said as inspection began at the company office in Noida on the outskirts of the capital.

The Health Minister also said that samples of the cough syrup have been taken from the manufacturing premises in Noida and sent to the Regional Drugs Testing Laboratory (RDTL) in Chandigarh for testing.

The CDSCO has been in regular contact with the national drug regulator of Uzbekistan regarding the matter since December 27.

In a series of tweets, Mandaviya said, ‘Immediately on receipt of information, joint inspection of the Noida facility of the manufacturer, Marion Biotech, was carried out by UP Drug Control and CDSCO team and further action as appropriate would be initiated based on the inspection report.’

In a statement, the health ministry said that Marion Biotech is a licensed manufacturer and holds the license for manufacturing Dok-1 Max syrup and tablets for export purposes granted by the Drugs Controller, Uttar Pradesh.

The governments of both countries are looking into the matter, said Hasan Harris, legal representative of the Noida-based Marion Biotech. ‘There is no problem from our end and no issue in testing. We have been there for the past 10 years. Once the government report comes, we will look into it. For now, the manufacturing has stopped,’ Harris added.

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