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There is a contaminated cough syrup in the market.



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has alerted Nigeria and other countries about contaminated ‘Naturcold Syrup’ discovered in Cameroon.

The organisation gave the notification in a Medical Product Alert posted on its website.

It said that the substandard product was unsafe and their use, especially in children, may result in severe injury or death.

According to WHO, the toxic effects can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state and acute kidney injury, which may lead to death.

It said the substandard Naturcold Syrup identified in Cameroon was first reported to WHO on March 13, 2023.

The health agency noted that the active ingredients of Naturcold syrup were paracetamol, phenylephrine hydrochloride and chlorpheniramine maleate.


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It said combining these three ingredients relieves the common cold, flu, and allergic rhinitis symptoms.

“Samples of the Naturcold syrup from Cameroon were made available to WHO on June 27 2023, and analysed in a WHO-contracted and pre-qualified laboratory.

“The analysis found that the product contained unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol as contaminants.

“Diethylene glycol was detected in samples of Naturcold as much as 28.6 per cent.

“The acceptable limit for Diethylene Glycol is no more than 0.10 per cent,” it said.

WHO said that diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans when consumed and can prove fatal.

It said the stated manufacturer of the affected product was listed on the packaging as ‘Fraken International (England)’.

There is a contaminated cough syrup in the market.

“The United Kingdom national regulatory authority, the MHRA, has confirmed that no such company exists in the UK,” it said.

It said that enquiries were still underway to determine the product’s origin.

The health agency emphasised that the manufacturer had not guaranteed the safety and quality of the products to WHO.

“The product referenced in this Alert may have marketing authorisations in other countries or regions.

“It may also have been distributed through informal markets to neighbouring countries,” it said

WHO advised the public not to use the affected product while urging them to seek immediate medical advice from healthcare professionals if they had used or suffered an adverse reaction or unexpected side-effect after using the product.

It advised regulatory agencies to increase surveillance and diligence within the supply chains of countries and regions likely to be affected by the products.

“Increased surveillance of the informal or unregulated market is also advised,” it said.

It advised health authorities to immediately notify WHO if these substandard products are discovered in their respective countries.

WHO urged manufacturers of liquid dosage forms, especially syrups that contain excipients including propylene glycol, polyethene glycol, sorbitol, glycerin or glycerol, to test for the presence of contaminants such as ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol before use in medicines.

It also advised healthcare professionals to report any suspicious adverse events linked to using contaminated medicines to the National Regulatory Authorities or National Pharmacovigilance Centre.

The health agency said all reasonable precautions had been taken by WHO to verify the information in the Alert and may be updated as more information becomes available.


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