Remember the death of 9 children in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) earlier after allegedly consuming a cough syrup made by a company that contains diethylene glycol. Manufacturer of the cough syrup, Digital Vision is under Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) scanner once again for allegedly causing kidney failure in a two-year child now. The drug controller general has ordered a stoppage on the sales and distribution of this contaminated syrup.

The issue came to light when the Paediatrics department at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh found last week, a two-year child suffering acute renal failure after consuming the cough syrup.

Drug in question: Cofset AT syrup banned and samples withdrawn from market

The Cofset AT syrup, allegedly contains diethylene glycol, a chemical that is responsible for renal failure is being analysed by the drug controlling authority.

The state drug controlling regulator has suspended the company's manufacturing license and the regions where the drug was distributed, were asked to stop its sale with immediate effect.

Konic Goyal, managing director of Digital Vision, a Himachal-Pradesh based company told ET that the report is not yet conclusive, considering the samples were taken from an open bottle, claiming that the syrup was contaminated is wrong. The drug department has taken sealed bottles from the market for investigation and if the product is contaminated or not is analysed, and so the report is not confirmed yet.

Goyal said, "We should wait." Also, if the product prescribed and given to the child was Digital Vision's product is not confirmed, so "We need to wait until the alleged claims by consumers are proven to be true."

Goyal in his defense also said that the company's product wasn't involved in the J&K deaths earlier. Diethylene glycol is commonly used as a solvent and it can be poisonous if consumed directly.

Renaming of Syrup: Coldbest to Cofset AT cough syrup doesn't help the manufacturer

According to Narender Ahooja, the Haryana state drug controller, the company manufacturing Cofset AT syrup is the same firm that was involved in manufacturing Coldbest syrup in March. Then Coldbest syrup later renamed to Cofset AT syrup but drug content remains the same.

The Regional Drug Testing Laboratory report found that Coldbest was contaminated with diethylene glycol, which on consumption by nine children in the Udhampur area of Jammu & Kashmir caused renal failure and resultant deaths. Following these alleged accusations against the firm, several FIRs have been filed in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.

Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)
Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)

The manufacturing facility of Digital Vision, at Kala Amb in Himachal Pradesh, is under monitoring by DGCI authorities and investigation team of officers from Himachal Pradesh and two officers from Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) have collected sales-purchase records of Cofset AT in Ambala and syrup samples from closed bottles for analysis.

The joint investigation team has asked the police to register fresh FIRs and add offences in the earlier FIRs against violators. Actions are underway by the investigation team to prosecute the manufacturing firm.

Drug controllers in Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal have received many complaints with sales records showing the drug was sold to companies in these states.

In the past as well, 17 children had been affected and nine died between December-end 2019 and January 17, 2020 in Ramnagar block of Udhampur. The children were hospitalised with acute kidney failure and the common factor in all these deaths was that - the children consumed Coldbest.