‘Substandard products’, says WHO after children in Uzbekistan die from consuming India-made medicines

A file photo of World Health Organisation building.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised against using two cough syrups for children in Uzbekistan that are produced by Marion Biotech, a Noida-based firm. The WHO warned about “substandard medical products” made by Marion Biotech on Wednesday, stating that they “are products that fail to meet quality norms or specifications and are consequently out of specification.”

“This WHO Medical Product Alert refers to two substandard (contaminated) products, identified in Uzbekistan and reported to WHO on 22 December 2022. Substandard medical products are products that fail to meet quality standards or specifications and are therefore out of specification,” the WHO said in an alert released on its website.

“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,” the alert added.

Noida-based pharma Marion Biotech has come under investigation following news of death of children in Uzbekistan after consuming cough syrup.

According to WHO, national quality control laboratories of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan conducted laboratory analyses of samples of cough syrups and discovered both products contained prohibited levels of diethylene glycol and/or ethylene glycol as impurities.

“There may be marketing permits for both of these products in other regional nations. Additionally, they might have been transferred via unofficial markets to other nations or regions,” WHO alert included.

The UN health agency added that “the substandard products referenced in this Alert are unsafe and their use, especially in children, may result in serious injury or death.”

On December 22, Uzbekistan claimed that after using medications made by the Marion Biotech firm, 18 children had died unexpectedly. The Marion Biotech company’s production licence was suspended on Tuesday by the Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration department due to its connection to the deaths of 18 children in Uzbekistan.

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