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Putin requests to toughen punishment in sales of alcohol-containing products

December 21, 2016, 14:37 UTC+3

The number of people in the Siberian city of Irkutsk who have died after drinking a bath lotion containing methanol has exceeded 60

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MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has requested to toughen specifications of manufacturing and sales of alcohol-containing products, as well as enhance punishment for violating them and to change alcohol excise duties to reduce the demand for substitutes of alcoholic drinks, Kremlin press service reported Wednesday.

The request complied should be reported before March 31, 2017, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is in charge.

According to the report, President’s request implies legislative changes aimed at "toughening the specifications of manufacturing and sales of food alcohol-containing products, perfume and beauty products, household and personal hygiene products with the volume of alcohol exceeding 25%, including introduction of licensing of the mentioned kinds of activity." Also, it is necessary to enhance "the regulations of retail trade of ethanol-containing medicinal drugs for medical and veterinary use" and to introduce "obligatory labelling of ethanol-containing products made and sold within the Russian Federation," the document said.

President also requested "to strengthen the responsibility for violations and crimes in the area of manufacturing and sales of ethanol-containing products."

"To prepare and submit proposals on changes into Russian legislation on taxes and charges, which imply changing the current excise duties on alcohol-and ethanol-containing products for reducing the demand for substitutes of alcoholic drinks," the document said.

Deadly lotion poisoning in Siberia 

The number of people in the Siberian city of Irkutsk who have died after drinking a bath lotion containing methanol has risen to 61, the regional Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

"A total of 106 people have been affected as a result of poisoning with the surrogate alcohol-containing products, 61 of them died, including 35 in hospitals, while 26 others died before seeking medical assistance," the ministry said.

As of 16:00 local time (11:00 Moscow Time), there were 40 people in six local hospitals, and five others have been discharged from hospitals due to improved health condition.

A court in Irkutsk is considering the investigators’ petition on Wednesday on imposing a pre-trial restraint for 11 individuals over their suspected role in the mass methanol poisoning, Stanislav Zubovsky, prosecutor of the Irkutsk Leninsky District Court, informed TASS.

"The court session has begun. Apparently, it will be long, considering the number of detainees," he said.

Earlier reports said that 60 people had died after drinking a bath lotion called Boyaryshnik (Hawthorn), while the number of registered cases had exceeded 100.

A criminal case has been opened into the sale of goods failing to meet safety requirements and resulting in the death of two or more people. A total of 11 people have been detained as part of this criminal case.

A ban on sales of all nonfood alcohol-containing products has been imposed in Irkutsk and in the region. The ban will stay in place as long as checks continue at local stores as to whether they have on sale the lethal bath lotion called Boyaryshnik and similar products.

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