Toxic Ingredients In Marion Biotech's Cough Syrups May Have Led To Tragedy In Uzbekistan

Marion Biotech, a Noida-based drugmaker, reportedly used a toxic industrial-grade ingredient instead of the legitimate pharmaceutical version in making its cough syrups.

What Happened? The company purchased propylene glycol (PG) from Maya Chemtech India, which lacked the license to sell pharmaceutical-grade materials, Reuters reported, citing sources.

The cough syrup contained industrial-grade PG, a toxic substance used in products like antifreeze and pesticides, instead of the required pharmaceutical-grade version, the sources said. Marion Biotech allegedly failed to test the ingredient before selling it to Uzbekistan, where it may have caused the death of 19 children.

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This incident is part of a larger issue involving contaminated cough syrups from India causing deaths in other countries. The international inquiry into the pharmaceutical supply chain prompted Gambia to impose restrictions on Indian exports.

If found guilty, Marion Biotech would have violated India’s drugs and cosmetics rules, which hold manufacturers responsible for ensuring ingredient safety. The investigation is ongoing, but Maya Chemtech India is not currently facing charges, sources added.

The cough syrups manufactured by Marion Biotech, Ambronol and DOK-1 Max, were previously found to contain toxins diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG) by Uzbekistan’s health ministry.

Indian authorities conducted tests on Marion Biotech’s cough syrups, finding them to be adulterated and spurious in March. As a result, the company’s license was cancelled, and three employees were arrested.

Marion Biotech’s directors have argued in court that the drugs were of substandard quality but not adulterated, adding that the directors had not committed any offence in India as the drugs were meant exclusively for export, Reuters reported, quoting court documents. The court order prevented their arrest unless convicted.

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Posted In: GovernmentRegulationsHealth CareGeneralMarion Biotech