New Delhi, October 11
The Uttar Pradesh Government has permitted the resumption of most production at a factory owned by Marion Biotech, whose cough syrups Uzbekistan linked to the deaths of 65 children last year, according to an order seen by Reuters.
Fatal cough syrup
- Marion Biotech in Uttar Pradesh allowed to resume production of most items
- State says company cannot make products with propylene glycol
- Plant yet to reopen pending inspections, other review, say sources
Marion is among three Indian companies whose cough syrups the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other agencies have linked to the deaths of 141 children in Uzbekistan, Gambia and Cameroon since the middle of last year, in one of the world’s worst such waves of poisoning.
“There’s no known case of a lack of quality in other medicines manufactured by the firm,” the drug controller of Uttar Pradesh where Marion is based, and which cancelled the firm’s licence in March, said in the September 14 order sent to the company. “Therefore, in view of natural justice, the appeal of the manufacturing firm is partially accepted. Its permission to make products using (cough syrup ingredient) propylene glycol is cancelled, and it is allowed to make and sell all other products.” The drug controller, Shashi Mohan Gupta, said in the order that the decision to allow the company to reopen its factory was taken by the state’s health department on August 11 after an appeal by the company.
Gupta declined to comment on the letter. He said that the Drugs Controller General of India, Rajeev Singh Raghuvanshi, had written to Marion Biotech to initiate a plan of corrective and preventive actions by the company. Raghuvanshi and the company did not respond to a request for comment. Marion, which says on its website it deals in pharmaceuticals, herbal and cosmetics products, has previously denied any wrongdoing.
Uttar Pradesh closed Marion’s factory after Uzbekistan’s Health Ministry found that two cough syrups made by Marion, Ambronol and DOK-1 Max, contained unacceptable amounts of toxins diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG), which are usually used in products not meant for human consumption.
Tests in January by an Indian government laboratory found 22 samples of Marion-made syrups were “adulterated and spurious”, the drug controller said in March. — Reuters
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