WHO Warns Not to Use India Manufacturer’s Cough Syrups

The products are linked to children’s deaths in Uzbekistan.

The WHO announced on January 11 that consumers should not use Ambronol and DOK-1 Max, two cough syrups made by India’s Marion Biotech. The products are marketed to treat cold and flu symptoms and have been linked to the deaths of 19 children in Uzbekistan.

According to Reuters, Uzbekistan's health ministry analyzed the products and found they contained diethylene glycol and/or ethylene glycol — toxic substances commonly found in vehicle antifreeze. Ingesting these compounds can result in abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury —which may lead to death.

The analysis also found that the cough syrups were given to children in higher than recommended doses by parents who may have mistakenly thought the product was an anti-cold remedy or on the advice of a pharmacist.

India’s Health Ministry suspended production at Marion shortly after the children’s deaths were reported. In addition, India's Uttar Pradesh state suspended Marion’s production license.

Earlier this month, authorities in Uzbekistan arrested four people in connection with the children’s deaths.

According to the WHO’s alert summary, to date, Marion has not provided guarantees to the organization on the safety and quality of these products. In addition, the labels on Ambronol and DOK-1 Max contaminated with diethylene glycol and /or ethylene glycol are worded in Russian and display MARION BIOTECH PVT. LTD, (Uttar Pradesh, India).

If someone has used these products and experienced any adverse effects, the WHO recommends they seek immediate medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional and report the incident to the National Regulatory Authority or National Pharmacovigilance Centre.

Individuals can also contact WHO via [email protected] with questions concerning the manufacture or supply of these products.


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