Marion Biotech: WHO warns against Indian cough syrup use in Uzbekistan
The WHO said it found unacceptable levels of impurities in cough syrups
The World Health Organization has warned about the use of two Indian cough syrups in children that have been linked to deaths in Uzbekistan.
The WHO said the products manufactured by Marion Biotech were “inferior” and the company failed to provide any guarantees about their safety.
The warning comes weeks after Uzbekistan claimed that 18 children died after consuming syrup made by the company.
The company has not yet commented on the warning.
The BBC has reached out to Marion Biotech and the Indian Ministry of Health for comment.
After the deaths were reported in Uzbekistan, the Indian Ministry of Health halted the company’s production.
This week, the Department of Food Safety in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh — where Marion Biotech is based — also suspended the company’s manufacturing license.
In the warning issued on Thursday, the WHO said that analysis of two cough syrups – Ambronol and Dok-1 Max – by the quality control laboratories of the Uzbek Ministry of Health found unacceptable levels of ‘ two impurities – “diethylene glycol and/or ethylene glycol”. .
Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans and can be fatal if swallowed.
“These two products may have marketing approvals in other countries in the region. They may also have been distributed to other countries or regions through informal markets,” said the WHO.
It added that “the inferior products” are “unsafe and their use, particularly in children, can result in serious injury or death”.
India is known as the “pharmacy of the world” as it produces one third of the world’s medicines and supplies most of the medical needs of the developing world. The country is also home to some of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies.
However, the industry has come under increased scrutiny after cough syrups made by Indian companies were linked to child deaths in other countries.
In October, the WHO issued a similar alarm, linking four cough syrups made by another Indian company to the deaths of 66 children from kidney injuries in The Gambia.
Both the Indian government and Maiden Pharmaceuticals have denied the allegations.