Govt cancels licences of 18 pharma companies

New Delhi: The government of India has cancelled the licences of 18 pharmaceutical companies for manufacturing spurious medicines.

The decision was taken following inspection by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on 76 companies across 20 states, the sources said. They also said a massive crackdown was underway on pharmaceutical companies in the country related to the production of bogus medicines.

Last December, Uzbekistan’s health ministry said at least 18 children have died after consuming a medicinal syrup manufactured by Indian drugmaker Marion Biotech Pvt Ltd.

The ministry said 18 out of 21 children, who took the Doc-1 Max syrup while suffering from an acute respiratory disease, died after consuming it. It is marketed on the company’s website as a treatment for cold and flu symptoms.

Previously, there were allegations that four medicines manufactured by a Haryana based pharmaceutical firm could be linked to the deaths of 66 children in The Gambia.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in October warned against the four cough and cold medicines manufactured by Sonepat-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals — Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough, Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup. These were identified as “substandard products” allegedly containing two toxic compounds — diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.

On 29 September, WHO alerted the DGCI about a possible causal link between the drugs and the deaths.

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