Indian Cough Syrup That Killed 65 Children Was In Market Due To Bribery: Uzbekistan Prosecutors

Uzbekistan: Uzbekistan prosecutors have alleged in court that distributors of the Indian cough syrup, which killed 65 children in the country, paid local health officials a bribe of $33,000 to do away with mandatory testing, Reuters reported. The cough syrups were produced by Indian firm Marion Biotech.

In Uzbekistan, 21 people have been put on trial — 20 of whom are Uzbeks and one Indian — last week. The charges being faced by the 21 accused include tax evasion, sale of substandard or counterfeit medicines, abuse of office, negligence, forgery, and bribery.

Three of those on trial, an Indian and two Uzbek nationals, are executives of Quramax Medical, the company that sold medicines produced by Marion Biotech, in Uzbekistan.

State prosecutor Saidkarim Akilov said Quramax CEO Singh Raghvendra Pratar allegedly paid government officials responsible for standardisation of medicinal products $33,000 to skip mandatory inspection of the syrups.

Pratar denied the charges in court but admitted that he gave the money to Uzbekistan officials through an intermediary as a “token of appreciation”, Reuters reported. However, Pratar said he had no idea how and by whom that amount was used.

The prosecutors also said that Quramax Medical had imported medicines of Marion Biotech at an inflated price through two Singapore-based intermediary companies, prompting tax evasion charges.

 

Sunil Kumar Dhangadamajhi

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