According to the authorities, 19 children in Uzbekistan may have died after taking cough syrup from India.

The prosecutor's office has initiated proceedings for the sale of adulterated drugs, the Fergana news agency said on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the Uzbek secret service had previously said that the suspects were in custody.

Investigations are being carried out against those responsible at the company Quramax Medical, which imported the cough syrup, and at the GmbH "Scientific Center for the Standardization of Medicines" in Uzbekistan.

The spokeswoman did not provide any information on the number of those arrested.

The Indian Ministry of Health announced on Thursday that they were in contact with the Uzbek authorities in connection with the syrup Dok1 Max from the pharmaceutical company Marion Biotech.

The local medicines agency also conducted an inspection of the manufacturing facility in Uttar Pradesh state and took samples of cough syrup, which would be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Marion Biotech was not available on Thursday for inquiries from the German Press Agency.

A company employee told the Indian news agency ANI that the production of the syrup had now been stopped.

The company website was recently offline.

An archived version of the website says the company's products are sold in India, Russia and ex-Soviet republics, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.

India is known as the pharmacy of the world and produces many medicines inexpensively, especially for poorer countries.

A few weeks ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of several cough and cold syrups from India being sold in The Gambia, which are suspected of triggering acute kidney failure and causing the deaths of dozens of children.