Production, sale of Coldbest-PC cough syrup halted after 9 infants die

Diethylene glycol in concoction suspected to have caused poisoning

Around 5,500 bottles of this syrup of the September 2019 batch, meant for children had been sold in several states, including Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal, North-East and Tamil Nadu. Photo: iStock

Production, sale and distribution of Coldbest-PC, a cough syrup, manufactured by Himachal Pradesh-based pharmaceutical company Digital Vision has been halted in eight states after a probe into the deaths of nine infants in Jammu’s Udhampur in January found presence of diethylene glycol, a poisonous compound.

As many as 5,500 bottles of this syrup of the September 2019 batch, meant for children had been sold in several states, including Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal, North-East and Tamil Nadu, said an Indian Express report.

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The presence of diethylene glycol, was detected in the cough syrup and was found to be present in the solvent propylene glycol (PG), used in the syrup. The origin of propylene glycol has been traced to Chennai-based Manali Petrochemicals. The solvent was then sold to two Delhi-based traders, who further sold it to a trader in Ambala and from there it found its way to the Kala Amb-based Digital Vision pharmaceutical unit.

Earlier, The Tribune reported on Tuesday (February 18) that Himachal Pradesh state drugs controller Navneet Marwaha said Digital Vision’s manufacturing licence has been withdrawn and as an added precaution they were coordinating with the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation officials to reach out to the end-users of this cough syrup and unused syrup bottles have been withdrawn from as far as Kanpur and Saharanpur.

Marwaha pointed out that since the testing of propylene glycol was not carried out at the pre-manufacturing stage, the presence of diethylene glycol went undetected.

According to its website, Digital vision, a Kala-Amb based company, says it employs 250 people with an annual turnover of ₹45 crore.

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