According to the Uzbek Ministry of Health, at least 18 children have died in Uzbekistan after drinking a medicinal syrup made by Indian pharmaceutical company Marion Biotech.
The ministry said 18 out of 21 children who drank Dr-1 Max Syrup while suffering from acute respiratory illness died after using it. It is marketed on the company’s website as a treatment for cold and flu symptoms.
One batch of the syrup contained ethylene glycol, which the ministry said was a toxic substance. The syrup was imported into Uzbekistan by Coramax Medical, the ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday.
It also said that the syrup was given to the children at home without a doctor’s prescription, either by their parents or on the advice of a pharmacist, in doses higher than the standard dose for children.
It was not immediately clear whether all or any of the children ate the suspected batch or ate more than the standard dose, or both.
Marion Biotech, Curamax Medical and India’s health ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. An Indian government source told Reuters that the health ministry is looking into the matter.
India on Tuesday began inspecting some drug factories across the country to ensure high quality standards.
Uzbek Incident A similar incident occurred in Gambia where at least 70 children died. Blame it on cough and cold syrup Made by Madden Pharmaceuticals based in New Delhi. Both the Indian government and the company have denied that the drugs were at fault.
India is known as the “Pharmacy of the World” and its pharmaceutical exports have more than doubled over the last decade to reach $24.5 billion in the last financial year.
The Uzbek Ministry of Health said it had fired seven employees for failing to analyze deaths in a timely manner and failing to take necessary measures. It said it had taken disciplinary action against some “experts”, without specifying what the experts’ roles were.
It is also recalling Doc-1 Max tablets and syrup from all pharmacies.