Pharmexcil suspends Marion Biotech membership


The alleged supply of substandard medicines by the company has been linked to the deaths of children in Uzbekistan.
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India has suspended from its membership Marion Biotech, the Noida-based drugmaker under the scanner after the death of 18 children in Uzbekistan.

The suspension is with immediate effect, Pharmexcil Director General Ravi Udaya Bhaskar said on Friday. The council, a body under the Union Commerce Ministry, initiated action after the company did not furnish the details it had sought after reports of the death of children allegedly after consuming Doc-1 Max, a cough syrup supplied by the company.

The alleged supply of substandard medicines by the company, leading to the deaths, has brought bad reputation to the Indian pharma industry. The development is also likely to have an impact on the trust of international agencies on Indian pharma exports, Pharmexcil said. Besides seeking information on licensees to whom the company had supplied Doc-1 Max, importers’ details, manufacturing licence copies and product permissions, the Council had advised Marion to investigate reasons behind the alleged serious adverse events.

The company is registered with Pharmexcil as a small scale manufacturer since 2010 and as a merchant exporter from 2016. The action came on a day when Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said “all manufacturing activities of Marion Biotech at the Noida unit have been stopped yesterday night.” This followed an inspection by the Central Standard Drugs Control Organisation (CDSCO) in the wake of reports of contamination in the cough syrup, he tweeted.

In October, Pharmexcil had suspended from its membership Maiden Pharmaceuticals after the company’s syrups were linked to acute kidney injury resulting in the death of at least 63 children in The Gambia. Companies suspended from membership by Pharmexcil will not be entitled to incentives made available by the government under the Market Access initiative for exporters.

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