Uzbekistan has claimed that at least 18 children in the country have died after allegedly taking an India-manufactured cough syrup.
India is set to probe the claims.
The health ministry of Uzbekistan, in a statement, said that the children who died had consumed cough syrup Doc-1 Max – manufactured by Noida-based Marion Biotech.
The laboratory tests of a batch of syrups found the presence of ethylene glycol, a toxic substance, the ministry said.
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.
It was found that the children, before being hospitalised, took this syrup at home for 2-7 days, in doses of 2.5 to 5 ml three to four times a day, which exceeds the standard dose, the ministry said.
The syrup was used by the parents as an anti-cold remedy.
After the deaths of 18 children, Doc-1 Max tablets and syrups have been withdrawn from all pharmacies in the country, the statement said, adding that seven employees were sacked because they failed to analyse the situation in time and take steps.
A joint inquiry will be conducted by the teams of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO – north zone) and Uttar Pradesh Drugs Controlling and Licensing Authority, it is learnt.
A casualty assessment report has also been sought from Uzbekistan.
This is the second time in a year that India-manufactured cough syrups have come under the scanner.
Earlier this year, deaths of 70 children in Gambia were linked to cough syrups manufactured by Haryana-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation had in October shut its unit in Sonepat for violation of manufacturing standards.
The WHO had earlier said that laboratory analysis of Maiden cough syrup had confirmed “unacceptable” amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which can be toxic and lead to acute kidney injury.
With inputs from NDTV