Uzbekistan has claimed that at least 18 children out of 21 in the country have died after allegedly taking an India-manufactured cough syrup. India is set to probe the claims. The Uzbekistan health ministry said that the children who died had consumed cough syrup Doc-1 Max – manufactured by Noida-based Marion Biotech. The ministry claimed that a hazardous chemical, ethylene glycol, was present in a batch of syrup.
It also said the syrup was given to children at home without a doctor’s prescription, either by their parents or on the advice of pharmacists, with doses that exceeded the standard dose for children. It was found that the children, before being hospitalised, took this syrup at home for 2-7 days, in doses of 2.5 to 5 ml three to four times a day, which exceeds the standard dose, the ministry said.
The syrup was used by the parents as an anti-cold remedy. Doc-1 Max tablets and syrups have been withdrawn from all pharmacies in the country, the statement said, adding that seven employees were sacked because they failed to analyse the situation in time and take steps.
A joint inquiry will be conducted by the teams of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO – north zone) and Uttar Pradesh Drugs Controlling and Licensing Authority, it is learnt. A casualty assessment report has also been sought from Uzbekistan. This is the second time in a year that India-manufactured cough syrups have come under the scanner.
Earlier this year, In Gambia, 70 children died, which were linked to cough syrups manufactured by Haryana-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals.
In October this year, The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation had shut its unit in Sonepat for violation of manufacturing standards.
The World Health Organisation(WHO) had earlier said that laboratory analysis of Maiden cough syrup had confirmed “unacceptable” amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which can be toxic and lead to acute kidney injury.
Responding to WHO, Drugs Controller General, VG Somani, had said that tests on samples of Maiden’s products at government laboratories had “been found to be complying with specifications” and no toxic substance was detected in them.