Uzbekistan court sentences 23 individuals over contaminated cough syrup deaths.

In a significant legal development, a court in Uzbekistan has sentenced 23 individuals, including one Indian national, to prison terms in connection with the deaths of 68 children linked to contaminated Indian cough syrups produced by Marion Biotech. The trial, spanning six months, concluded on Monday with the defendants facing various charges.

The Central Asian nation had initially reported 65 deaths related to the medicines, but last month, prosecutors at the Tashkent city court updated the death toll, adding two more individuals charged during the hearings.

The defendants were found guilty of a range of offenses, including tax evasion, sale of substandard or counterfeit medicines, abuse of office, negligence, forgery, and bribery. Singh Raghvendra Pratar, an executive director of Quramax Medical, a company selling medicines produced by Marion Biotech in Uzbekistan, received the longest prison term of 20 years.

Former senior officials responsible for licensing imported medicines also faced lengthy sentences. The court mandated compensation amounting to $80,000 (1 billion Uzbek sums) for each family of the 68 deceased children and an additional four children who became disabled due to the syrup. Parents of eight other affected children will receive compensation ranging from $16,000 to $40,000. The court has specified that the compensation funds will be collected from seven of the convicted individuals, as per the Supreme Court statement. The case highlights the serious consequences of pharmaceutical malpractice and the legal repercussions faced by those involved in producing and distributing substandard medicines.