Trial begins in Uzbekistan over 65 child deaths tied to contaminated cough syrups

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Uzbekistan began a trial on Friday over the deaths last year of 65 children linked to contaminated cough syrups, announcing for the first time a much higher death toll than before.

The Central Asian nation had previously reported only 20 deaths linked to the medicines, which were produced by India’s Marion Biotech.

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Among the 21 defendants - 19 of whom are Uzbeks and two are Indians - are former senior officials who were in charge of licensing imported medicines and executives of a private company that imported and distributed them, Uzbekistan’s Supreme Court said in statement.

Charges against them include tax evasion, sale of substandard or counterfeit medicines, abuse of office, negligence, forgery, and bribery.

The Indian regulator has canceled the manufacturing license of Marion Biotech, which had exported the syrups to Uzbekistan, and arrested some of its employees.

In December, a legal representative of Marion Biotech said the company regretted the deaths.

Read more:

Pharma exports in India soar, despite cough syrup deaths

Iraqi government recalls tainted cold medicine made in India

WHO raises concerns over contaminated Indian-made cold syrup

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