An Indian pharma company named Maiden Pharmaceuticals, which has come under the scanner after 66 children lost their lives in the Gambia after consuming cough syrup made in India, was a repeat offender in India as well.
Several drugs by the pharma company weren't found to be up to the quality standards by four states of the country. Vietnam had earlier banned the company in 2011.
While speaking to NDTV, public health activist Dinesh Thakur highlighted that the firm's medicines have been flagged for quality issues in our country as well.
He explained that India does not have a regulatory system but a central regulator called the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), and every state has its own regulator. During his research, Thakur found that regulators in Kerala and Gujarat stated that Maiden Pharma's medicines were of 'poor quality'. Thus, the public procurement agency of Bihar had blacklisted a syrup.
Thakur further questioned how the company was given permission when it has a poor record. He said Vietnam blacklisted numerous companies a few years ago considering their poor quality, including Maiden Pharma. The central regulator has only given export permission and CDSCO's website has its name on it.
Several cases linked to Maiden Pharma's Directors have also been found in court and this shows the condition of systems in place for medicines in the country, he added.
The tiny West African nation of Gambia has started a door-to-door effort to collect cough and cold medications that are thought to be the cause of the kidney injuries that have killed more than 60 children there.
Following a statement from the World Health Organization that its products were responsible for the deaths of scores of children in the Gambia, India is analysing samples of cough syrups made by Maiden Pharmaceuticals.
The WHO had stated that laboratory analysis of Maiden cough syrup had confirmed 'unacceptable' amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, that can be toxic and lead to accute kidney injury.
Anil Vij, the health minister of Haryana state where Maiden has its factories, told reporters, "Samples have been sent to a central pharmaceutical laboratory for testing. Strict action will be taken if anything is found wrong."
Indian ministry sources told NDTV that launched in November 1990, Maiden manufactured and exported the syrup only to the Gambia.
Warning signs against Maiden Pharmaceutical
Bihar in 2008 : Erythromycin stearate 125 mg syrup (4 batches found to be of poor quality)
Bihar in 2011 : Methylergometrine tab (Fake)
Vietnam: Company banned from 2011 to 2013
Gujarat in 2013 : Macipro Tab (dissolution issues)
Jammu and Kashmir in 2020 : Cyproheptadine Hydrochloride Syrup IP (substandard in quality)
Kerala in 2021 : Metformin 1000 Tab (dissolution issue)
Kerala in 2021 : Easiprin (did not meet IP standard)
Kerala in 2021 : Metformin 500 mg (dissolution issue)
Kerala in 2021 : Maikal D Tab (Poor quality)
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