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EntertainmentIndia has identified a supplier of toxic ingredients linked to cough syrup deaths
India has identified a supplier of toxic ingredients linked to cough syrup deaths

India has identified a supplier of toxic ingredients linked to cough syrup deaths

Police officers outside the headquarters of Marion Pharmaceuticals

The Indian government has made progress in its investigation into the manufacturing of cough syrup products that have caused the deaths of 19 children in Uzbekistan.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers were told to stop using propylene glycol sourced from a Delhi-based chemical plant operated by Maya Chemtech India Private, which supplied cough syrup ingredients to Marion Biotech.

Government officials in Uzbekistan first linked the deaths to Marion’s cough syrups Ambronol and DOK-1 Max in December. Last week, Indian authorities arrested three Marion employees after tests in a government laboratory found that 22 of 36 samples had unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol or ethylene glycol, leading to a suspension of the company’s production. Ashish Kondal, the drug inspector investigating the case, alleged the company disposed of materials and records related to the manufacturing process.

Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are industrial versions of the glycerine found in propylene glycol, which is a necessary ingredient in making cough syrup. While cheaper than pure glycerine, the alternative ingredients are nephrotoxic and can cause organ failure, especially in children.

Representatives for Marion Biotech and Maya Chemtech were not immediately available for comment.

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Indian cough syrup linked to child deaths last year

The substitution of glycerine with industrial alternatives in cough syrup has been linked to child deaths around the world, including the deaths of 99 children in Indonesia last year. That incident prompted the Indonesian government to ban all syrup-based medicine.

Last fall, 66 children died in the Gambia after taking cough medicine made by Maiden Pharmaceuticals—an Indian company based in Haryana—that also included elevated levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, according to testing done by the World Health Organization.

However, Maiden was cleared in December by the Indian government, which found the cough syrup met regulatory standards. The firm is looking to restart production.

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Greg Aftayev is a Journalist at Flaunt Weekly Covering Tech News.

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