A recall for a cough syrup – Coldbest-PC – produced by Digital Vision Pharmaceuticals based out of Himachal Pradesh,has been issued in Tamil Nadu and seven other states in the country after preliminary investigations revealed that the syrup was contaminated and allegedly led to the death of nine children in Jammu and Kashmir earlier in January.
Investigation into the deaths of the nine children who had been given the syrup prima facie revealed the presence of a poisonous compound called ‘diethylene glycol’, according to Surinder Mohan, the Assistant Drugs Controller of the Drug and Food Control Organisation in Jammu and Kashmir.
At present, officials have identified eight states to which batches of the cough syrup had been dispatched, and have issued a recall notice to them. The notice has been sent to officials in Himachal Pradesh (where the manufacturer is located), Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, and Tamil Nadu.
“We were informed that the syrup is contaminated and to not distribute it. We have informed all the health officials who are involved to ensure that no one is administered the syrup,” an official from the Office of the Assistant Director of Drugs Control in Trichy told TNM. A batch of the cough syrup had been sent to Trichy, and subsequently recalled.
Officials from the pharmaceutical company which had manufactured the syrup reportedly stated that production of the syrup has been stopped and that all drug control officials had been notified.
It all started in early January when nine children died and six others fell sick in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district. Health authorities were deployed to probe the cause of deaths, and the only common factor was that the children had all been given Coldbest-PC cough syrup.
Samples of the syrup sent for testing revealed the presence of diethylene glycol, a poisonous substance.
At present, Digital Vision’s manufacturing license has been withdrawn and over 5000 units of the syrup are being recalled from all the eight states it had been distributed to. Authorities have also suspended production at the unit where the syrup was manufactured.
This is reportedly not the first time that the Digital Visions has been pulled up by officials. According to an earlier report by TOI, Digital Vision has been pulled up by officials for producing subpar drugs and for failing several quality checks as between 2014 and 2019 in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kerala.