WHO Issues Alert Against India-made Cough Syrups Linked to Deaths of Children in Uzbekistan

The WHO in an official statement has recommended that cough syrups made by Noida-based company Marion Biotech should not be used for children in Uzbekistan. The health body on Wednesday advised not using Dok 1 Max and Ambronol, both produced by the Noida-based company, on account of their “substandard” quality. It added that it was important to detect and remove the two cough syrups from circulation to prevent harm to patients.

In a medical product alert, it said that Ambronol and Dok 1 Max “contained unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and/or ethylene glycol as contaminants” as per laboratory analysis carried out by authorities in Uzbekistan.

“The substandard products referenced in this alert are unsafe and their use, especially in children, may result in serious injury or death,” the global health body said. “Toxic effects can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.”

A controversy erupted involving the death of 66 children in the Gambia allegedly after taking cough syrup imported from India. Last month, a similar case came to light in Uzbekistan. In a press release at the end of December 2022, Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Health stated that 18 of 21 children with acute respiratory diseases died after ingesting Dok-1 Max syrup manufactured by Marion Biotech Pvt Ltd, a company based in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

The UP Food safety and Drug administration department has suspended the production license of Marion Biotech following the incident.

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