HP pharma unit booked for infants’ death due to contaminated syrup - Hindustan Times
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HP pharma unit booked for infants’ death due to contaminated syrup

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByHT Correspondents, Shimla/jammu
Mar 03, 2020 10:17 PM IST

Claimed the lives of 12 infants in Ramnagar area of Udhampur district in January

Himachal Pradesh Police have registered a case of attempt to commit culpable homicide and under provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act against M/S Digital Vision, a pharmaceutical firm at Kala Amb in Sirmour district which manufactured the cough and cold syrup that claimed the lives of 12 infants in Ramnagar area of Udhampur district in January.

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In a statement made in the Vidhan Sabha, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said on February 15, the state government received an e-mail from drug controller of Jammu and Kashmir informing about the deaths of infants due to presence of diethylene glycol in “Coldbest-PC Syrup” manufactured by Digital Vision.

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Taking a swift action, the government formed a team led by state drug controller to inspect the firm. The team had carried out inspection at the firm’s premises on February 15.

“The drug inspector collected five samples of the syrup that have been sent for testing. A report of the samples is awaited,” the CM said.

He informed the house that the drug inspector has also seized the register and records of the firm.

On February 17, the licensing authority, Nahan, had stopped the production at the Digital Vision. “The firm has been asked to withdraw this batch from market,” he said. The CM said the state government received the report of samples of the syrup collected by Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana authorities.

“The presence of diethylene glycol in these samples was found to be more than 34%,” Thakur said.Soon after the reports were received, the drug controller lodged a complaint against the Digital Vision under Section 18 (a)(i) read with Section 17 A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act for manufacturing substandard drug which is punishable under Section 27 (a) with imprisonment of 10 years which may extend to life imprisonment.

“Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code has also been added to the FIR,” the CM said adding that manufacturing license of Digital Vision has also been suspended with effect from March 2 pending inquiry.

Firm will have to face law, compensate deaths: J&K drug controller

The official report from Regional Drugs Testing Laboratory (RDTL) in Chandigarh on Tuesday found diethylene glycol in the Coldbest-PC Syrup as the rootcause of death of the 12 infants in Ramnagar area in January.

The “poisonous” syrup was manufactured by Digital Vision. Jammu and Kashmir drug controller Dr Lotika Khajuria said, “The official report states that the chemical diethylene glycol was the rootcause behind the death of infants.”

“Though it will take time but definitely the pharmaceutical company will have to face trial under relevant sections of law and has to compensate deaths of the children and those who suffered because of the syrup,” she said.

Khajuria said the authorities had withdrawn entire stocks of the syrup on January 17 itself.

“The moment we came to know about death of children, we had stopped supply chain of the Coldbest PC syrup. Supply of other drugs was also stopped because we were not sure about the exact drug causing the deaths,” she added.

Khajuria said on February 15 when PGI Chandigarh attributed deaths to the presence of diethylene glycol in the syrup, she had informed her counterpart in Himachal Pradesh telling him to recall stocks of the syrup manufactured at Digital Vision from other parts of India.

“Himachal had recalled entire stocks within a day and the manufacturing unit was also sealed,” she said.

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