Zimbabwe Recalls Toxic Children's Cough Syrup Manufactured by Johnson & Johnson

Zimbabwean health authority recalls toxic children's cough syrup after reports of high levels of harmful contaminant, highlighting the need for robust quality control and public awareness to prevent circulation of substandard medicines.

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Nitish Verma
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Zimbabwe Recalls Toxic Children's Cough Syrup Manufactured by Johnson & Johnson

Zimbabwe Recalls Toxic Children's Cough Syrup Manufactured by Johnson & Johnson

The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) has issued a recall notice for Benylin Paediatric 100ml Syrup, a children's cough syrup manufactured by Johnson & Johnson in South Africa. The recall was initiated after the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria declared the syrup toxic for human consumption due to high levels of diethylene glycol, a contaminant that is harmful when ingested.

The affected batches, numbered 329303 and 329304, were produced in May 2021 and had an expiry date of April 2024. While the product was registered for use in Zimbabwe in 2023, the MCAZ's import database does not show any record of these specific batches being imported into the country. However, there are concerns that the contaminated syrup may find its way into the local market through illegal channels.

As a precautionary measure, the MCAZ has advised the public to immediately notify the authority or healthcare providers if they encounter the recalled product and to refrain from administering it to children. The authority has also called for heightened market surveillance and investigations to prevent access to this potentially deadly drug.

Why this matters: The recall of the toxic children's cough syrup in Zimbabwe highlights the importance of stringent quality control measures and regulatory oversight in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure the safety of medicines, especially those intended for vulnerable populations such as children. The incident also highlights the need for increased public awareness and vigilance to prevent the circulation of substandard or falsified medical products.

Several other African countries, including Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya, have also recalled the same batch of Benylin Paediatric syrup due to concerns over the presence of diethylene glycol, which has been linked to the deaths of dozens of children in other nations. The MCAZ has stated that it will intensify its market surveillance activities through strict premises inspections and public awareness campaigns to prevent the circulation of these compromised products. The authority has urged the public to access medicines exclusively from verified and licensed pharmacies to facilitate easier monitoring and regulation.

Key Takeaways

  • MCAZ recalls Benylin Paediatric 100ml Syrup due to toxic diethylene glycol.
  • Affected batches 329303 and 329304 produced in May 2021, expiring April 2024.
  • Syrup not imported to Zimbabwe, but may enter through illegal channels.
  • Several African countries have also recalled the same batch of the syrup.
  • MCAZ urges public to access medicines only from licensed pharmacies.