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WHO issues warning against Indian cough syrups

The World Health Organization has issued a warning against the use of two Indian cough syrups that caused the death of at least 20 children in Uzbekistan.

According to the WHO, the Marion Biotech Company in India produced the items however the company did not offer any assurances regarding the product’s safety or quality.

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The warning was issued on Wednesday after Uzbekistan’s government reported that at least 20 children died last month after ingesting syrup sold by the firm under the brand name Doc-1 Max after which the company’s production was then halted by the Indian Ministry of Health, Doc-1 Max imports and sales were prohibited in Uzbekistan.

“Both of these products may have marketing authorizations in other countries in the region. They may also have been distributed, through informal markets, to other countries or regions,” WHO said.

According to the WHO alert, the Uzbek quality control laboratories’ study of the syrup samples revealed excessive quantities of diethylene glycol and/or ethylene glycol as impurities. When ingested by humans, diethylene glycol and ethylene are fatally poisonous.

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It is the second Indian pharmaceutical company to be under investigation by regulators since October when the WHO connected another company’s drugs to a slew of infant fatalities in the Gambia.


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