Distributor of a drug that killed more than 65 children in Uzbekistan asks for permission to sell other drugs

Quramax Medical, the distributor of Dok-1 Max and other drugs of Indian Marion Biotech, is asking for permission to sell 50 items of medicines worth 28 billion soums, which remain in pharmacies in Uzbekistan after the suspension of their sale. This is reported by gazeta.uz.

On October 6, 2023, at a court hearing in the Dok-1 Max case, Davron Akhmadov, a lawyer for the Indian citizen who headed Quramax Medical, said that he had sent an official letter to the Uzbek Ministry of Health requesting permission to sell the manufacturer’s drugs, with the exception of Dok-1 Max and Ambronol, which reportedly caused the deaths of 65 children;

“We addressed the Ministry with a lawyer’s request, informed that the manufacturer has tax debts of 10 billion soums, at the same time the LLC is not working, its activity is suspended, but the debts have arisen, and asked to allow the sale of other drugs of the manufacturer remaining in pharmacies. The Ministry answers that Quramax Medical LLC has no certificate. We ask for help on this issue,” the media quoted the lawyer as saying.

The Agency for the Development of the Pharmaceutical Industry of Uzbekistan applied to the court with a claim that all Marion Biotech drugs are “substandard, harmful to health and should be destroyed”. The first instance of the court satisfied this claim and decided to destroy not only Dok-1 Max and Ambronol, but also all drugs of Indian manufacturers. However, the pharmaceutical companies filed an appeal against the court’s decision.

In January, Quramax Medikal lost its license to conduct pharmaceutical activities in Uzbekistan. A court in Tashkent ordered the withdrawal of unusable medicines from circulation and their destruction.

Background

Sixty-five children died in Uzbekistan after taking drugs from India’s Marion Biotech, including Doc-1 Max. This is stated in the indictment against the employees of Quramax Medikal and Pharmagency.

In late December 2022, the SGB of Uzbekistan reported the initiation of a criminal investigation into the deaths of children and the detention of officials from the importing company Quramax Medical and the Scientific Center for Standardization of Medicines of Uzbekistan. At the same time, the Agency for the Development of the Pharmaceutical Industry of Uzbekistan stopped the sale of all Marion Biotech products, including Cinepar Kid, Travamax and Ambronol.

According to the agency, the drugs underwent laboratory tests at the Scientific Center for Standardization of Medicines of Uzbekistan, and certificates of compliance were issued for them. However, as previously reported, the requirements of the regulatory documents were grossly violated during the research process, as a result of which the substandard drugs were allowed for sale.

In early 2023, the Uzbek Pharmagency reported the detection of ethylene glycol in the composition of a batch of drugs supplied by Marion Biotech, the amount of which was 300 times higher than the norm stipulated by medical regulations. Instead, the drugs should have contained propylene glycol (food additive with bactericidal effect).

In February 2023, it became known that the former head of the Pharmagentstvo and the Center for Drug Expertise and Standardization of Uzbekistan, Sardor Kariev, was also taken into custody. Law enforcement authorities did not report the status of the case after that.

According to Reuters, Marion Biotech may have used industrial propylene glycol, a toxic material used in liquid detergents, antifreeze, paints and other products, in its products.

The sale of Dok-1 Max syrup was suspended on December 22, 2022, but the Uzbek Ministry of Health sent out a mailing urging people not to buy the drug only a week later. The then head of the Ministry of Health, Behzod Musaev, said that information about the deaths of children after taking Dok-1 Max syrup was concealed from the Ministry of Health.

Indian producer of Dock-1 Max syrup has been stripped of its license in India

Authorities in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have revoked the manufacturing license of Marion Biotech, a pharmaceutical company whose cough syrup Dok-1 Max caused the deaths of at least 20 children in Uzbekistan. The license had been suspended earlier.

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