Death of 65 children due to cough syrup in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan: The alleged role of Indian cough syrup in the tragic deaths of 65 children in Uzbekistan has taken a new turn as recent revelations shed light on the matter. According to reports, public prosecutors in Uzbekistan have claimed during court proceedings that the distributors of the Indian cough syrup paid bribes amounting to $33,000 (approximately Rs 28 lakh) to local officials in order to evade mandatory testing. Let’s delve into the latest developments concerning this case.
The Court Proceedings
Legal action has been initiated in the Central Asian nation against 21 individuals in relation to the tragic deaths. Among the defendants, 20 are Uzbek nationals while one is an Indian citizen. It has been disclosed that three of the accused, including one Indian and two Uzbek nationals, hold executive positions at Kuramax Medical. This company is responsible for selling medicines from India’s Marion Biotech in Uzbekistan and is now facing serious allegations.
Allegations of Bribery
Saidkarim Akilov, the state prosecutor, has alleged that the CEO of Kuramax, Singh Raghavendra Pratar, paid a sum of $33,000 to government officials to bypass mandatory product inspections. However, the prosecutor’s statement did not provide clarity on whether the cough syrup underwent testing in Uzbekistan or if the manufacturer was asked to conduct tests in India. As a result, uncertainties still exist regarding the inspection process of the cough syrup.
Bribery Through Intermediaries
During the court proceedings, Pratar refuted the allegations against him but admitted that the bribe money was handed over to authorities through an intermediary. He asserted that he had no knowledge of how the money was used afterward or who was involved. Among the 21 defendants, seven have been found guilty of various charges, including tax evasion, sale of substandard or counterfeit drugs, abuse of authority, negligence, forgery, and bribery.
The officials have yet to explain the circumstances leading to the deaths of 45 individuals over the past year. Additionally, state prosecutors revealed that Kuramax had imported drugs from Marion Biotech at inflated prices through two intermediary companies based in Singapore, resulting in allegations of tax evasion. Despite these revelations, significant uncertainties remain, leaving the mystery surrounding the matter unresolved.