India halts production of cough syrups suspected of links to child deaths
By Bindu Kumar and Subash Nallur Pradeep (Kolkata) ‚ “The health minister has been asked to suspend the manufacture and sale of suspect cough syrup, the chief minister said.” Photo: Rupak De Chowdhury. [Source: The Tribune]
‚ “The health minister has been asked to suspend the manufacture and sale of suspect cough syrup, the chief minister said.” Photo: Rupak De Chowdhury. [Source: The Tribune]
Health Minister Anupriya Patel issued a statement on Sunday evening stating that the government has now suspended the manufacture and sale of the cough syrup marketed under the brand name ‘Vitality’.
It was also alleged that many children have died due to consuming cough syrups containing a deadly drug azithromycin.
In 2007, the Union Health Ministry had banned the sale of cough syrup believed to contain azithromycin to prevent unnecessary deaths in children. It had recommended that the product, which is sold under the brand name Vitality, should only be consumed by adults.
It further said that the product had been manufactured, distributed and sold without a valid licence. Hence, it recommended the suspension of the sale and distribution of the product.
However, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), later found it was manufactured and sold legally.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), the Central Government agency which regulates the pricing of prescription drugs, had conducted a thorough investigation of the cough syrup known under the brand name Vitality.
It had found that the cough syrup had been manufactured, distributed and sold without a valid licence, under section 12(1)(b) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1968.
It further found that the cough syrup was manufactured and marketed without an adequate quality control system.
It was also found that the manufacturers had not followed the standard procedure for setting the quality control parameters for the manufacture, distribution and sale of the cough syrup.
In its report to the NPPA, the authority had said: “Further, the manufacturers have shown an absence of satisfactory quality control at various steps of the manufacturing process (i.e. the manufacturing, testing,