Noida-based Marion Biotech’s License Suspended Over Uzbekistan Child Deaths

Team Parvasi – Inside

Noida-based pharmaceutical firm Marion Biotech which has been linked with the death of 18 children in Uzbekistan has lost its production license. The suspension was officially issued to the company which it accepted. The company has been accused of manufacturing a substandard cough syrup that was linked with the death of those children.

In December last year, Noida-based pharmaceutical firm Marion Biotech which manufactures cough syrup Ambronol and Dok-1 Max was accused of causing the death of 18 children in Uzbekistan after they were given these cough syrups. Neither of the two cough syrups are sold in India and are only exported to Uzbekistan. On December 22, 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified two substandard (contaminated) products and issued a ‘medical product alert.’

On December 29, an inspection of the Noida facility was carried out and six samples of Dok-1 Max were taken for testing. At the time, the company was asked for production documents related to the cough syrup but the staff could not produce them. The government then shut down production of the cough syrup. The suspension of the production license was ordered the same day. On January 10, the written suspension was issued to the company which it accepted, according to Gautam Buddh Nagar Drug Inspector Vaibhav Babbar.

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WHO reported the findings of lab tests performed by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan and said, “The two products are AMBRONOL syrup and DOK-1 Max syrup. The stated manufacturer of both products is MARION BIOTECH PVT. LTD, (Uttar Pradesh, India). To date, the stated manufacturer has not provided guarantees to WHO on the safety and quality of these products. Laboratory analysis of samples of both products, undertaken by national quality control laboratories of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan found both products contained unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and/or ethylene glycol as contaminants.” WHO added that diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans when consumed and can prove fatal.

In a fresh inspection, four samples of the Ambronol cough syrup were taken from the Noida facility and the results are yet to arrive.

Vineet Washington

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