HomeTrendingUzbekistan puts Indian company officials on trial over contaminated cough syrup

Uzbekistan puts Indian company officials on trial over contaminated cough syrup

Uzbek state prosecutors claimed during a trial on Wednesday that distributors of a tainted Indian cough medication that killed 65 children in Uzbekistan paid local officials a bribe of $33,000 to forgo required testing.

The Central Asian country brought 21 defendants—20 Uzbeks and one Indian—to trial for the fatalities that took place last week, revealing for the first time a considerably greater death toll than had been previously reported.

Three of the defendants—an Indian and two citizens of Uzbekistan—were executives of Quramax Medical, a company that distributed drugs made by Marion Biotech in India throughout Uzbekistan.

State prosecutor Saidkarim Akilov claims that Quramax CEO Raghvendra Pratar Singh paid $33,000 to state authorities at the state centre for competence and standardisation of pharmaceutical products to have them forego a required inspection of the company’s goods.

From the prosecutor’s statement, it was unclear whether the inspection was expected to entail tests in Uzbekistan or a request for the firm to conduct tests in India.

Speaking in court, Pratar rejected the accusations but acknowledged giving the money to the officials through an intermediary as a “token of appreciation”. He claimed he had no clue of the subsequent uses of that money or by whom.

Seven of the 21 defendants entered pleas of guilty to all or part of the accusations brought against them, including tax evasion, the selling of subpar or fake medications, official misconduct, negligence, forgery, and bribery.

Why 45 deaths had not been reported since last year has not been revealed by officials.

On Wednesday, state prosecutors also claimed that Quramax had imported Marion Biotech medications at an exorbitant price through two Singapore-based middlemen firms, which led to tax evasion accusations.