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Investigation continues in case of death of children in Uzbekistan due to cough syrup, production stopped in Noida’s pharmaceutical company

New Delhi, 30 December (Agency)

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said all production activities at the company’s Noida unit have been halted in the wake of reports of cough medicine Doc-1 Max manufactured by Marion Biotech allegedly killing 18 children in Uzbekistan. Mandaviya tweeted that further investigation is on in the case related to the alleged death of 18 children in Uzbekistan from Dok-1 Max. He wrote, “All production activities at Marion Biotech’s Noida unit were halted on Thursday night following an inspection by a team from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in the wake of reports of cough syrup Doc-1 Max being toxic.” . Further investigation is on in the matter.” Government sources said Uzbekistan authorities reached out to India on Thursday night regarding the deaths allegedly linked to the cough syrup and sought a thorough probe into the matter. Earlier, the legal representative of Marion Biotech had told on Thursday that the production of Dok-1 Max has been stopped ‘for the time being’. Mandaviya had said on Thursday that further action would be taken on the basis of the inspection of the pharmaceutical company. At the same time, an official of the Uttar Pradesh government had said that Marion Biotech does not sell Doc-1 Max in India and it has been exported only to Uzbekistan.

Mandaviya had informed that samples of the said cough syrup from the Noida unit of Marion Biotech have been sent to the Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (RDTL) in Chandigarh for testing. He had said that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) was in constant touch with the national drug regulator of Uzbekistan since December 27 regarding the matter. At the same time, the Ministry of External Affairs had told that the Government of India is in regular contact with the Uzbek authorities and details of their investigation have been sought in this matter. Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi had said that diplomatic assistance is being provided to some people associated with the company who are facing legal action in Uzbekistan. Bagchi had pointed out that the Uzbek authorities have not formally taken up the matter with New Delhi. “Nevertheless, our embassy has contacted Uzbek authorities and asked for additional information about their investigation,” he had said. At the same time, Hasan Harris, legal representative of Noida-based Marion Biotech, had said that the governments of both the countries are looking into the matter. He had said, “There is no wrongdoing from our side and we have no problem with the investigation. We are active in the pharmaceutical market there since last 10 years. We will look into it after the government’s report comes. Production has been stopped for the time being.”

These allegations from Uzbekistan were preceded by reports of the alleged death of 70 children in Gambia in early 2022 from cough syrup manufactured by Haryana-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals. Later, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) told the World Health Organization (WHO) that it was too hasty to link the death of children in The Gambia to an Indian-made cough syrup.

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