THE Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) has urged medical professionals and citizens to be on high alert after the World Health Organisation (WHO) red-flagged four paediatric drugs linked to the recent death of 69 children in The Gambia in West Africa.
In a statement, MCAZ acting director Richard Rukwata said the four products are Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup.
According to WHO, the medicines were manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited of Haryana of India and imported into some countries in Africa.
The WHO medical product alert, Number 6/2022, said the products were first identified in The Gambia and a report was filed last month.
Rukwata said the products contained harmful ingredients that had toxic effects.
“To date, the stated manufacturer has not provided guarantees to WHO on the safety and quality of these products. These products are reported to contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants. To date, these four products have been identified in the Gambia, but may have been distributed through informal markets to other countries,” read the statement.
Rukwata said toxic effects of the syrups included abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.
He warned that given that the products were not registered, they were highly likely to be smuggled into the country.
- Chamisa under fire over US$120K donation
- Mavhunga puts DeMbare into Chibuku quarterfinals
- Pension funds bet on Cabora Bassa oilfields
- Councils defy govt fire tender directive
“The authority wishes to inform health professionals and members of the public that those products are not registered in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the manufacturer is not registered in Zimbabwe and the authority has not authorised any importation of any products from this manufacturer.
“However, through illegal means, these products may find their way into the local market. As a precautionary measure, the authority will intensify its market surveillance activities through strict premises inspection and public awareness to ensure that these products are not circulated.
“In the unlikely event that members of the public are in possession of and/or come across these products, please notify the authority or healthcare provider immediately and desist from administering them to children,” Rukwata said.
This comes as the Health ministry has also warned against consumption of a South African Purity baby product found to contain traces of toxic asbestos.
Both Health deputy minister John Mangwiro and ministry spokesperson Donald Mujiri could not be reached for comment last night.