WHERE: Indian syrups may have caused child deaths in Uzbekistan

The World Health Organization has issued a warning

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The World Health Organization has issued a warning over the use of two cough syrups from India believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least 20 children in Uzbekistan, according to Agence France-Presse.

The WHO said the products, made by India's Marion Biotech, were of "inferior quality" and that the company had not provided guarantees about their "safety and quality".

The notice, issued on Wednesday, comes after Uzbek authorities said last month at least 20 children died after consuming a syrup made by the company under the brand name Doc-1 Max. Subsequently, India's Ministry of Health suspended production at the company while Uzbekistan banned the import and sale of the formulation in question.

The WHO warning said an analysis of syrup samples by Uzbekistan's quality control laboratories found "unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and/or ethylene glycol as impurities".

Diethylene glycol and ethylene are toxic to humans when ingested and can cause death.

“Both of these products may have marketing authorizations in other countries in the region. They may also have been distributed, through informal markets, to other countries or regions," the WHO said.

The products are "unsafe and their use, especially by children, can result in serious injury or death," it said.

It is the second Indian drugmaker to face a regulatory probe since October, when the WHO linked another company's drugs to a series of child deaths in Gambia.

Maiden Pharmaceuticals has been accused of manufacturing several toxic cough and cold medicines that have led to the deaths of at least 66 children in the African country.

The victims, mostly between five months and four years old, died of acute kidney failure.

India launched an investigation into Maiden Pharmaceuticals, but later said the investigation had found the suspect drugs to be of "standard quality".

Source: KYPE