WHO issues alert over contaminated cough syrups
The World Health Organization is issuing an alert for batches of two cough syrups manufactured by an Indian company that were found to be contaminated.
The contaminated products, Ambronol syrup and DOK-1 Max syrup, were identified in Uzbekistan and reported to the WHO on Dec. 22 of last year. According to the WHO, an analysis conducted by Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Health identified “unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and /or ethylene glycol.” The WHO lists Marion Biotech, based in Uttar Pradesh, India, as the manufacturer.
Ethylene glycol is commonly used in antifreeze, while diethylene glycol, or DEG, is mainly used in brake fluid and cooking fuel, among other uses. DEG has also been used as a counterfeit for pharmaceutical-grade glycerin for years, according to the New York Times. The WHO warned that consumption of the chemicals can result in serious injury or death, including abdominal pain, headache, altered mental state or acute kidney injury, among other ailments.
The WHO has requested that areas likely to be affected by the contaminations ramp up their surveillance within supply chains, and report back if they discover anything. It also urged manufacturers of syrups that contain glycerin to test for the presence of contaminants.
Last month, Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Health said in a statement that 18 children had died after taking DOK-1 Max. Parents had incorrectly used the drug in those instances, according to CNBC TV18 in India, which first reported the news. Uttar Pradesh suspended Marion’s manufacturing license earlier this month, after the company did not respond to a “show cause notice,” according to another CNBC report.
Marion’s website is currently down, in addition to its parent company Emenox Group. Endpoints News has been unable to reach the company on the matter, but will update the story accordingly. CNBC reported on Thursday that Uttar Pradesh’s Food Safety & Drug Administration Department is conducting an inspection of Marion’s site.
Endpoints also reached out to the WHO and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Health for further comment, but didn’t get a response by press time.
Another Indian manufacturer, Maiden Pharmaceuticals, recently came under fire after children in Gambia died after taking its cough syrup products.