Noida Pharmaceutical Firm Linked to Uzbek Child Deaths Set to Lose Licence

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Authorities in Uttar Pradesh have initiated a process to cancel the drug licence of a pharmaceutical firm whose product has been linked with the deaths of 18 children in Uzbekistan in December, PTI reported.

Gautam Buddh Nagar drug inspector Vaibhav Babbar said that paperwork in connection with the cancellation of Marion Biotech’s licence is “in progress” and a report about it has been sent to the Uttar Pradesh government.

“All production at the firm had been suspended in January itself and now it has been completely stopped,” he said.

On December 27, Uzbekistan’s health ministry had said that 18 children died after consuming Dok 1 Max syrup manufactured by Marion Biotech Limited. Two days later, the Indian government had said that samples of the medicine have been sent for testing.

The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested three employees of the pharmaceutical firm on March 3. This was after a complaint was filed by a drugs inspector of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization.

On January 12, the World Health Organisation recommended not using two cough syrups – Dok 1 Max syrup and Ambronol – produced by Marion Biotech, on account of their “substandard” quality.

The global health body said that both syrups “contained unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants” as per laboratory analysis carried out by authorities in Uzbekistan. The two organic compounds are fatal and can attack the nervous system.

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