Sun | Dec 4, 2022

Jamaica on alert for contaminated cough syrups

Published:Friday | October 7, 2022 | 2:50 PM
The health minister says the country's pharmacovigilance system has already alerted the Standards & Regulation Division of the Ministry and that its Import Permit Department is monitoring all donations and personal imports to further reduce the risk of the product entering Jamaica. - Contributed photo.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is reporting that Jamaica is on alert for contaminated cough syrups that the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned may be linked to the deaths of 66 children in the African country of Gambia.

READ: Gambia urgently recalls syrups blamed for 66 child deaths

At the same time, the health ministry says the possibility of the items entering Jamaica is remote.

“Our records indicate that neither the manufacturer nor the product is registered with the Ministry of Health & Wellness,” said Portfolio Minister Dr Christopher Tufton in a statement today.

“Additionally, our pharmacovigilance system has already alerted the Standards & Regulation Division of the Ministry and our Import Permit Department is monitoring all donations and personal imports to further reduce the risk of the product entering the country,” Tufton added.

According to the medical product alert issued by WHO on Wednesday, the four products are Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup.

“To date, the stated manufacturer has not provided guarantees to the WHO on the safety and quality of these products,” the alert said, adding that laboratory analysis of samples of the products “confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants.”

While the contaminated products have so far only been detected in Gambia, they may have been distributed to other countries, WHO said.

It also said it is pursuing investigations with the company and regulatory authorities in India.

“WHO recommends all countries detect and remove these products from circulation to prevent further harm to patients,” it said.

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