Indian Among 21 Sentenced In Uzbekistan Over Contaminated Cough Syrup Deaths

A court in Uzbekistan sentenced 21 people including an Indian national to prison terms over the deaths of 68 children who consumed contaminated cough syrups produced in India.

According to a report in AFP, Singh Raghvendra Pratap, an Indian national and the director of the company that imported the Doc-1 Max syrup into Uzbekistan, was given the harshest sentence of 20 years. 

The Supreme Court of Uzbekistan found Pratap guilty of corruption, tax fraud and forgery. The court also said that compensation amounting to $80,000 should be paid to each of the families of 68 children who died from the consumption of the syrup.

The prison sentence was announced after a six-month trial when around 86 children were poisoned in Uzbekistan between 2022 and 2023, of whom 68 died. 

The cough syrup Dok-1, manufactured by Marion Biotech, was found associated with the death of the children in Uzbekistan in 2022.

The syrup repotedly contained Ethylene Glycol, which is a toxic substance found in industrial-grade glycerine and is not permitted for medicinal purposes. 

The incident led to the central and state drug authorities in India to investigate into the matter. The samples were sent to the government’s regional drug testing laboratory in Chandigarh and 22 of them were found to be ‘not of standard quality’, as per an FIR filed by UP Police.

The Indian government earlier decided to halt all manufacturing activities of Marion Biotech after it received the letter from the Uzbek MFA and the company’s export licence was also suspended.

As per reports, Marion Biotech has a manufacturing unit in Noida, where it used to manufactures products for the Indian market and exports to various countries across the globe in CIS (Russia and ex-Soviet Republics), South East Asia, Africa, and Latin America. 

Last year, the Noida Police arrested three employees of Marion Biotech in March. The arrests were made after the FIR was lodged against the three over a complaint by a drugs inspector of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO).

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