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India arrests pharma employees linked to cough syrup deaths in Uzbekistan

Indian police have arrested three senior employees of a pharmaceutical company
whose cough syrups were linked to the deaths of 19 children in
Uzbekistan, a police officer has said.

The arrests were made after tests by an Indian government
laboratory found 22 drug samples of Marion Biotech Pvt Ltd,
based near New Delhi, “adulterated and spurious”, according to a
police document on Friday.

Police said they had arrested a Marion head of operations
and two chemists.

Two directors were “out of the country and will be arrested
as soon as they land in India”, senior police official Ram Badan
Singh said.

The company did not answer calls by the news agency and did not
immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Gambia shocked as India absolves pharma firm ‘linked’ to children deaths

Childrens’ deaths

Uzbekistan said in December the children died after
consuming Marion’s cough syrups. India suspended Marion’s
production soon after.

Analysis by Uzbekistan’s health ministry showed the syrups,
Ambronol and DOK-1 Max, contained a toxin, ethylene glycol. The
syrups were administered in doses higher than the standard for
children, either by their parents, who mistook it for an
anti-cold remedy, or on the advice of pharmacists, according to
the analysis.

The same toxin was found in cough syrups exported to Gambia
by another Indian company, Maiden Pharmaceuticals.

India suspended production at Maiden in October last year
for violations of manufacturing standards after the World Health
Organization said four of its cough syrups may have killed
dozens of children in Gambia.

The company has denied its drugs were at fault for the
deaths in Gambia and tests by an Indian government laboratory
found there were no toxins in them.

An Indian court last month sentenced two Maiden executives
to two-and-half years in jail for exporting substandard drugs to
Vietnam a decade ago.

Is it time to ban the deadly chemical behind Gambia children deaths?

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