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Friday, May 24, 2024

Poisonous Cough Syrups Seized, Linked to Child Deaths

Pakistan seizes contaminated Dow Chemical-labeled propylene glycol, linked to child deaths in Indonesia, Gambia, and Uzbekistan.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) announced the seizure of a batch of contaminated propylene glycol solvent labeled as manufactured by Dow Chemical, Thailand. The regulatory action, initiated after analyzing a sample at the Central Drug Laboratory in Karachi, revealed an unacceptable level of Ethylene Glycol, posing serious health risks. Dow Chemical, Thailand, has not responded to the authorities’ request for comment regarding the contaminated batch.

The move comes in the wake of investigations linking toxic propylene glycol, found in cough syrups, to the deaths of over 300 children in Indonesia, Gambia, and Uzbekistan since 2022. The World Health Organization has connected deaths outside Indonesia to cough syrups manufactured in India.

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Investigation and Recall Orders Issued

Drap’s regulatory field force has taken possession of the contaminated propylene glycol batch and is conducting a comprehensive investigation into the entire supply chain associated with it. An alert from the drug authority mandates the recall of any products manufactured from the same batch, both from local and export markets. The implicated batch was falsely labeled as manufactured by Dow Chemical, Thailand, heightening concerns about the transparency of the supply chain.

The analysis revealed the presence of an unacceptable level of Ethylene Glycol, known to affect the central nervous system, heart, and cause kidney damage, potentially leading to fatality upon ingestion. The drug authority emphasized the severity of health risks associated with Ethylene Glycol and issued a directive to put on hold finished products manufactured from any other batch of propylene glycol sourced from Dow Chemical, Thailand. The potential impact on locally produced cough syrups remains unclear, raising concerns about public health.

Ethylene Glycol ingestion poses significant health threats, affecting vital organs, and can be fatal. The extent of the chemical’s presence in locally consumed cough syrups remains uncertain, urging authorities to scrutinize the supply chain thoroughly.