Two children’s cough syrups made by Noida-based company Merion Biotech should be cautious, the World Health Organization has said.

In a medical product alert on Wednesday, the WHO said, ‘substandard medical products’ made by Marion Biotech are products that fail to meet proper quality standards and are therefore off the list for consumption. The alert refers to two substandard (contaminated) products identified in Uzbekistan. It was reported to WHO on 22 December 2022.

The statement added, ‘The two products are Ambronol Syrup and Doc-1 Max Syrup. The stated manufacturer of both products is Marion Biotech Private Limited (Uttar Pradesh, India). To date, the said manufacturer has not provided a guarantee to the WHO regarding the safety and quality of these products.’

Noida-based pharma Marion Biotech has come under scrutiny after reports of children dying after consuming cough syrup from Uzbekistan.

According to WHO, laboratory analysis of samples of cough syrups conducted by the National Quality Control Laboratory of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan showed that both products contained unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and/or ethylene glycol as contaminants.

‘Both of these products may have marketing authorization in other countries in the region,’ WHO said in a warning. They may be distributed to other countries or regions, through informal markets.’

The UN health agency added that ‘the substandard products referred to in this warning are unsafe and their use, especially by children, may cause serious injury or death.’

On December 22, Uzbekistan reported that 18 children had died after consuming a drug made by the Marion Biotech company. On Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh’s Food Safety and Drug Administration Department suspended the manufacturing license of Marion Biotech Company, linked to the deaths of 18 children in Uzbekistan.

Gautam Buddha Nagar drug inspector Vaibhav Babbar said, ‘We have suspended the manufacturing license of Merion Biotech Company after not providing sufficient documents, depending on the documents asked during the inspection which were served by the state licensing authorities with a show cause notice.’

He added that the results of the samples are still pending.

Last month, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said all manufacturing operations of the Noida-based pharma company had been stopped following reports of contamination in cough syrup Doc-1 Max.

(January 12)