30 Dec 2022

Uzbekistan Cough Syrup Deaths: Marion Biotech's Plant In Noida Shut Down

New Delhi: Marion Biotech's Noida plant in Uttar Pradesh, accused of supplying contaminated cough medicine to Uzbekistan, has been shut down.

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Friday that following inspection by Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in view of reports of contamination in cough syrup Dok1 Max, all manufacturing activities of Marion Biotech at Noida unit have been stopped, while further investigation is ongoing.

Earlier Mandaviya had said that CDSCO is in regular touch with the national drug regulator of Uzbekistan regarding the matter since December 27.

The team of Uttar Pradesh Drugs Controller and CDSCO conducted a joint inspection of the Noida plant of the manufacturer Marion Biotech. The ministry had said that further action would be taken on the basis of the inspection report.

Samples of cough syrup have been collected from the premises of the company and have been sent to Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (RDTL), Chandigarh for detailed examination.

Marion Biotech is a licensed manufacturer. License has been obtained from Uttar Pradesh Drug Controller to manufacture "Doc 1 Max" cough syrup and tablet for export purpose.

Uzbek authorities start legal action

The Uzbek authorities have started legal action against some people, "including the local representative of the company there… we are extending necessary consular assistance to those individuals," said foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. Uzbekistan, he said, has not formally contacted the Indian government about the deaths.

Company asked to submit undertaking

Sources also said manufacturing company Marion Biotech has been asked to submit an undertaking that the cough syrup was not supplied in any part of India. Samples of other drugs it manufactures will be picked up for random testing.

Political controversy

The issue has snowballed into a political controversy. "Modi Government must stop boasting about India being a pharmacy to the world and take strictest action," Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said. 

However, BJP has denied Ramesh's charge. "The death of children in Gambia had nothing to do with the consumption of cough syrup made in India. That has been clarified by the Gambian authorities and DCGI, both," BJP's Amit Malviya said.

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