Uzbekistan has alleged that 18 children with acute respiratory disease have died in the city of Samarkand after taking cough syrup manufactured by an Indian company Marion Biotech Pvt Ltd.

Uzbekistan is the second country after Gambia to link child deaths to India made cough syrups.

A press release issued by the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan on December 27 said that an internal inquiry conducted by the regulatory agencies of that country found that the deceased children, before admission to hospital treatment, took Doc-1 Max syrup at home for 2-7 days 3-4 times a day, 2.5-5 ml, which exceeds the standard dose of the drug for children. "All children were given the drug without a doctor's prescription. Since the main component of the drug is paracetamol, Doc-1 Max syrup was incorrectly used by parents as an anti-cold remedy on their own or on the recommendation of pharmacy sellers. And this was the reason for the deterioration of the condition of patients," the investigation report reveals.

According to the preliminary laboratory studies conducted by the agencies of that country, the particular series of Doc-1 Max syrup contains ethylene glycol, a substance that is toxic, and about 1-2 ml/kg of a 95% concentrated solution can cause serious changes in the patient's health, such as vomiting, fainting, convulsions, cardiovascular problems and acute kidney failure.

The Uzbekistan health ministry also stated that tablets and syrups of the drug Doc-1 Max have been withdrawn from sale in all pharmacies of the country. "The shortcomings identified on the basis of the study materials, the issue of the responsibility of medical workers will be considered at a separate meeting of the Collegium of the Ministry of Health," the release said.

The Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan had constituted a working group to conduct an internal investigation on the fact with a site visit after the deaths of the children. The ministry's press release also pointed out that "taking into account all cases of violation of the law identified by the working group of the Ministry during the study, 7 responsible employees were dismissed from their positions due to the fact that they were negligent and inattentive to their duties, did not analyze child mortality in a timely manner and did not take the necessary measures, also disciplinary measures were applied to a number of specialists."

The results of the study of the Doc-1 Max syrup showed signs of a crime and all responsible employees were fired and the materials were transferred to law enforcement agencies, the release said.

Noida-based Marion Biotech had got tablets and syrup Doc-1 Max registered in Uzbekistan in 2012. The drug was imported into Uzbekistan by a local company Quramax Medical LLC.

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