The Noida-based Marion Biotech has come under the scanner after the death of 18 children in Uzbekistan. The country’s Health Ministry has alleged that the children have died after consuming its cough syrup, Doc 1-Max.
India’s Health Ministry and regulatory bodies have initiated an investigation against the company.
On Friday, Union Health Minster Mansukh Mandaviya took to Twitter and informed that all manufacturing activities of Marion Biotech at NOIDA unit have been stopped yesterday night.
“Following inspection by CDSCO team in view of reports of contamination in cough syrup Dok1 Max, all manufacturing activities of Marion Biotech at NOIDA unit have been stopped yesterday night, while further investigation is ongoing,” Mandaviya Tweeted.
The Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan said that preliminary laboratory studies have shown that this series of Doc-1 Max syrup contained ethylene glycol.
“To date, 18 out of 21 children with acute respiratory disease have died as a result of taking the Doc-1 Max syrup. It was found that the deceased children, before admission to hospital treatment, took this drug 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,” the Health Ministry of Uzbekistan said in a release.
Marion Biotech–flagship firm of Emenox group
Marion Biotech, founded in 1999, is a privately held firm that has a range of products spanning pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, herbals, and cosmetic products.
The company is a part of the Emenox group which also has a presence in real estate and hospitals. The Emenox group was founded by its Chairman Sachin Jain in 1998. It undertakes real estate development under its division Emenox Infratek, which was established in 2006.
The company reportedly has a presence in Central Asian countries, Central and Latin Americas, South East Asia and Africa. It claims to be the brand leader in the categories that it is present in these markets.
Marion Biotech is a licensed manufacturer and holds the licence for manufacturing Dok-1 Max syrup and tablets for exports granted by the Drugs Controller, Uttar Pradesh. It does not sell the Dok-1 Max syrup in India.
The company also has a division, Emenox Healthcare which is into pharmaceutical manufacturing.
What Happened in the Cough Syrup Linked Death So Far?
On Thursday, central and state drug control teams inspected Marion Biotech and collected samples of Doc 1-Max. Reportedly, the samples have been sent to the Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (RDTL) in Chandigarh.
Dok 1 Max is a combination of paracetamol, guaifenesin and phenylephrine hydrochloride which reduces symptoms of cold, fever and other upper respiratory tract infections, according to the company’s website.
The cough syrup was imported by Quramax Medical of Uzbekistan.
Marion Biotech’s spokesperson told reporters that they are waiting for the inspection findings. According to the country’s Health Ministry, the laboratory tests of a batch of Dok 1 Max syrups found “the presence of ethylene glycol”, a toxic substance. The ministry also said that 21 children were given the syrup without a doctor’s prescription with doses that exceeded the standard limit for kids.