India probes Uzbek claims of linking 18 child deaths to India-made drug

New Delhi, Dec 29 (EFE).- India on Thursday said it would probe Uzbekistan’s claims of linking at least 18 child deaths to India-manufactured cough syrup.

According to the Uzbek health ministry, the deceased children had consumed Dok-1 Max syrup and tablets manufactured by Marion Biotech, based in Noida, a suburb near India’s national capital Delhi.

The Indian Health Ministry said it immediately inspected the Noida facility of the manufacturer.

“Further action, as appropriate, would be initiated based on the inspection report,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The samples of the cough syrup have been taken from the manufacturing premises and sent to the Regional Drug Testing Laboratory.”

According to Uzbek officials, laboratory studies showed that the drug contained ethylene glycol, a toxic substance that can cause vomiting, fainting, convulsions, cardiovascular problems, and acute kidney failure.

The health ministry said that it had found that the deceased children consumed 2.5–5 ml of the drug at home for 2–7 days, 3–4 times a day, which exceeded the safe dose.

All children were given the drug without a medical prescription.

It said parents mistakenly used the Dok-1 Max syrup as an anti-cold remedy on their own or after the recommendation of pharmacy sellers.

“This was the reason for the deterioration of the condition of patients.”

The Uzbek government has withdrawn tablets and syrups of the drug from sale in all pharmacies in the country.

The Indian health ministry said Marion Biotech is licensed to manufacture Dok-1 Max syrup and tablets for export purposes.

The ministry said health officials and drug regulators were in contact with Uzbekistan authorities.

The incident comes months after the World Health Organization (WHO) sounded a global alert in October and linked four India-made cough syrups to the deaths of 66 children in the Gambia.

The global health organization said lab tests on drug samples showed unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, both toxic substances.

India, known as “the pharmacy of the world” for its large-scale production of low-cost generic drugs, is home to some of the fastest-growing pharmacies in the sector. EFE


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