Indian pharmaceutical company Marion Biotech suspended production after a cough syrup it produced was linked to the death of 19 children in Uzbekistan and is awaiting reports following an inspection.

India is known as the
India is known as the "pharmacy of the world", and has doubled its pharmaceutical exports over the last decade, touching $24.5 billion in the last fiscal year. (Anushree Fadnavis / Reuters)

The Indian maker of a cough syrup that was linked to the death of 19 children in Uzbekistan has halted production of all medicines after an inspection by the drug regulator.

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Friday investigations were continuing, and production was suspended at the Marion Biotech unit in Noida, outside Delhi, while a senior executive for the firm said they were awaiting reports following the inspection.

"All manufacturing activities of Marion Biotech at Noida unit have been stopped yesterday night, while further investigation is ongoing," Mandaviya wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Hasan Harris, Marion Biotech's legal head, told Reuters partner ANI, "We await the reports, the factory was inspected. We've halted production of all medicines."

Neither Marion Biotech or the health ministry immediately responded to a request for comment on media reports that inspectors found some deviation from rules on manufacturing at one of the firm's production units.

READ MORE: Many children dead in Uzbekistan from India-made cough syrup

'Toxic substance'

On Thursday, Uzbek media reported a 19th victim, with the death of a one-year-old child.

Uzbekistan's health ministry had earlier said at least 18 children died in Samarkand city after consuming Marion Biotech's Dok-1 Max syrup.

Uzbekistan's health ministry had said the syrup contained a toxic substance, ethylene glycol, and was administered in doses higher than the standard dose for children.

It was administered either by their parents, who mistook it for an anti-cold remedy or on the advice of pharmacists.

India's ministry of chemicals and fertilisers issued an order on Thursday, laying out specifications to regulate the sale of ethylene glycol from the end of March.

Uzbekistan has taken legal action against a representative of the company in the Central Asian country, and has ordered all pharmacies to withdraw the Dok-1 Max tablets and syrups.

The Uzbekistan case follows deaths of at least 70 children in Gambia that had been linked to cough and cold syrups manufactured by New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd. 

READ MORE: India orders factory to halt cough syrup production after Gambia deaths

Source: TRTWorld and agencies