India has launched an investigation into the death of 18 children in Uzbekistan after they consumed an Indian-manufactured cough syrup

as one of the world’s biggest drug exporters faces increasing scrutiny over the quality of medicines it produces.

India’s health ministry said the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) — the country’s drug regulatory authority — was communicating with its counterpart in Uzbekistan over the incident.

Uzbekistan’s health ministry had said in a statement on Wednesday that the children had died after consuming a medicinal syrup, Dok-1 Max

It said preliminary tests had showed that the syrup contained ethylene glycol, a toxic substance that has been linked to child deaths previously too.

A spokesperson of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the organisation is “in contact with health authorities in Uzbekistan and is ready to assist in further investigations”.

The incident comes months after the deaths of 70 children in the Gambia were linked to a cough syrup made by New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd