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Uzbekistan: Four arrested over Indian-made cough syrup deaths

Cough Syrup. [Photo: Pexels]

Four people were arrested by Uzbekistan after an investigation into the deaths of 19 children who consumed cough syrup made by Indian drug maker Marion Biotech, Reuters reported quoting Uzbek state security service on Friday.

The report said two of the arrestees were senior employees of the Scientific Center for Standardization of Medicines, who circumvented the proper testing procedures for the Doc-1 Max cough syrup.

Two others were executives of the Quramax Medikal company that imported the Marion Biotech drugs, it said.

Last week, Uzbekistan Health Ministry found that India-made cough syrup is behind the death of 18 children as they consumed the syrup manufactured by Indian drugmaker Marion Biotech.

The statement issued by the ministry said that 18 out of 21 children who took the Doc-1 Max syrup while suffering from an acute respiratory disease died after consuming it. The syrup is marketed on the company’s website as a treatment for cold and flu symptoms.

A batch of the syrup contained ethylene glycol, which the ministry said was a toxic substance, according to a report by Reuters.

The ministry statement added that syrup was imported into Uzbekistan by Quramax Medical.

It also said the syrup was given to children at home without a doctor’s prescription, either by their parents or on the advice of pharmacists, with doses that exceeded the standard dose for children.

Earlier in Gambia, the deaths of 70 children were linked to the cold syrups made by New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals.

However, both India’s government and the company later denied the medicines were at fault.

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