A Reuters report, citing the two sources, said the syrup was made with industrial-grade PG, a toxic material widely used in liquid detergents, antifreeze, paints or coatings
Marion Biotech, the Indian manufacturer of cough syrups that Uzbekistan said last year had poisoned 19 children reportedly used a toxic industrial-grade ingredient rather than the legitimate pharmaceutical version, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The company bought the ingredient – propylene glycol (PG) – from trader Maya Chemtech India, as reported by Reuters.
But Maya did not have a licence to sell pharmaceutical-grade materials and “dealt in industrial-grade only,” the report said, citing the unnamed source at the firm with knowledge of the Marion investigation.
“We did not know Marion was going to use it to make cough syrups,” said the person, who declined to be identified while the case is investigated. “We are not told where our material is used.”
The Reuters report, citing the two sources, said the syrup was made with industrial-grade PG, a toxic material widely used in liquid detergents, antifreeze, paints or coatings, and to enhance the effectiveness of pesticides.
“Marion bought commercial-grade propylene glycol,” said a second source, an investigator, who declined to be named while the inquiry is ongoing.
“They were supposed to take Indian Pharmacopoeia-grade,” the source added, referring to national standards for the composition of pharmaceutical products.
Marion also did not test the ingredient before using it in the syrups it sold to Uzbekistan, the investigator said.
India’s drugs and cosmetics rules say manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety of ingredients they use.
Maya is not facing charges, according to the company source, but the investigation is ongoing. Reuters said Deepak Sharma, an Assistant Drugs Controller for the national capital territory of Delhi, where Maya is based, declined to comment, saying the case was being investigated by federal drugs authorities.
Marion, which says it deals in pharmaceuticals, herbal and cosmetics products, has previously denied any wrongdoing.
Reuters said neither Marion, nor India’s drug regulator or health ministry responded to its requests for comment.
An analysis last year by Uzbekistan’s health ministry showed the Marion-made cough syrups, Ambronol and DOK-1 Max, contained unacceptable amounts of toxins diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG), used in products that are not for human consumption.
Uzbekistan in January arrested four people in relation to the 19 deaths, including two executives at a company that imported the Marion drugs.
Source: Arabian Business