3 Arrested From Noida Pharma Firm Over Cough Syrup Deaths of Uzbekistan Children

This comes after an FIR was filed on Thursday against five officials of Marion Biotech in connection with the case.

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The Noida Police on Friday, 3 March arrested three employees of a pharmaceutical company whose cough syrup had allegedly led to the deaths of 18 children in Uzbekistan in December 2022.

The case: This comes after an FIR was filed on Thursday against five officials of Marion Biotech, which included two of the firm's directors, according to news agency PTI.

The complaint was filed by a drugs inspector of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, officials said.

The central and Uttar Pradesh drug authorities had found 22 samples of Marion Biotech's drugs to not be of standard quality, i.e. adulterated and spurious.

"Three persons named in the FIR have been arrested, while the two directors of the company are at large. Those arrested are Tuhin Bhattacharya, Head Operation; Atul Rawat, Manufacturing Chemist; and Mool Singh, Analytical Chemist," PTI quoted Phase 3 police station in-charge Vijay Kumar as saying.

What did the WHO say? Earlier, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had also advised against using the two cough syrups — e AMBRONOL syrup and DOK-1 Max syrup — that were linked to the deaths of over 18 children in Uzbekistan.

In their alert issued on 11 January, WHO called both these made-in-India products 'substandard medical products', that are 'unsafe.'

This is not the first time cough syrups made in India have come under fire for having unsafe levels of DEG, having caused fatal consequences. India has had at least five incidents of DEG poisoning in the past, with little consequence.

In Uzbekistan, officials had earlier arrested four people in connection to the deaths of the children, including senior employees of the Scientific Center for Standardization of Medicines, who were in charge of testing the products.

The state authorities in Uttar Pradesh had also suspended the production licence of Marion Biotech.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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