Asia - Pacific

India halts production of cough syrup pharma linked to child deaths in Uzbekistan

New Delhi launched probe after Uzbekistan's Health Ministry said 19 children died after taking Indian-made syrup

Ahmad Adil  | 30.12.2022 - Update : 30.12.2022
India halts production of cough syrup pharma linked to child deaths in Uzbekistan A view of Marion Biotech pharmaceuticals company after the cough syrup produced by Marion Biotech pharmaceuticals company in India is allegedly linked to the death of eighteen children in Uzbekistan on December 29, 2022 in Noida,Utaar Pradesh, India. ( Imtiyaz Khan - Anadolu Agency )


India shut down a pharma firm that manufactured a cough syrup linked to the death of at least 19 children in Uzbekistan, the country's health minister said on Friday.

Mansukh Mandaviya said that following an inspection by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), the country’s drug regulatory body, in view of reports of contamination in cough syrup Dok1 Max, "all manufacturing activities of Marion Biotech at Noida unit have been stopped yesterday night, while further investigation is ongoing."

The country launched a probe this week after authorities in Uzbekistan said many children in the country died because of side effects of a cough syrup manufactured by an Indian pharmaceutical firm Marion Biotech. The company is located in Noida city in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

Ajay Kumar Jain, a top official of the Food Safety and Drug Administration Department in Uttar Pradesh, told Anadolu Agency that another inspection was conducted at the pharma firm on Thursday and the team found some "deviations."

"For now, all the manufacturing activities have been stopped," he said. "The samples have been sent for testing. Further action will be taken after the test reports are received."

Uzbek Health Ministry earlier this week reported that 18 children with the acute respiratory disease died after taking Doc-1 Max syrup.

The statement also said that Dok-1 Max tablets and syrups have been withdrawn from sale nationwide, urging parents to purchase medicines only by prescription.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi on Thursday told the media: "Uzbek authorities have not formally taken up the matter with us."

"Nevertheless, our embassy has contacted the Uzbek side, and is seeking further details of their own investigation," he said.

The latest incident follows a similar incident that took place in Gambia in October when World Health Organization issued a medical alert for four contaminated medicines detected in Gambia linked with acute kidney injuries and 66 child deaths. The medicines were cough and cold syrups produced by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited in India.

However, earlier this month, the Indian Parliament was informed by the Health Ministry that "control samples" of the drugs from the manufacturing unit were drawn and sent for test and analysis.

"As per the report of the government analyst, the samples have been declared to be of standard quality," the ministry said.

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