NAFDAC warns against ‘toxic’ cough syrup, cancer-causing weight loss pills


NAFDAC warns against ‘toxic’ cough syrup, cancer-causing weight loss pills

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has issued another alert on “toxic” cough syrups reportedly imported from Indonesia.

In October, NAFDAC warned Nigerians against the use of four substandard cough syrups.

The products listed were “Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup”.

We had also reported that the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an alert on the syrups made by India-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals.

In another alert dated December 20, NAFDAC warned against some cough syrups, adding that they were found to contain toxic amounts of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol.

According to the statement, the two chemicals are often used in industrial applications and in antifreeze and brake fluids and are also used as cheaper alternatives to glycerin (used for thickening cough syrups) in some pharmaceutical products.

“The ingestion of both chemicals is often toxic and can lead to acute kidney injury (AKI),” the statement reads.

NAFDAC said the alert was necessary as Indonesian authorities revoked the licenses of two pharmaceutical companies (PT Yarindo Farmatama and PT Universal Pharmaceutical industries) to prevent them from producing syrup-type medicines, following the death of 159 children under five years, due to acute kidney injury.

“It was discovered that the two companies used propylene glycol as a raw material in the production of medicinal syrups. The syrups, often used by children, contained excessive amounts of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol,” the statement reads.

“The findings were based on interviews with employees and an examination of documents, facilities, and products of the companies.

“NAFDAC implores importers, distributors, retailers and consumers to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, and use of the above-mentioned syrups.

“All medical products must be obtained from authorised/licensed suppliers. The products’ authenticity and physical condition should be carefully checked.

“Members of the public in possession of the above-listed products are advised to discontinue sale or use and submit stock to the nearest NAFDAC office.”

In another alert also dated December 20, NAFDAC warned against the use of “Weight Rapid Loss Capsule”, said to have the potential of causing cancer.

“The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is notifying the public that the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DOH) has warned against the use of the Weight Rapid Loss Capsule, due to its potential to cause cancer,” the statement reads.

“The product is being marketed as “the most effective weight loss supplement” and is being illegally sold through social media platforms like Instagram.

“Result of laboratory analysis showed that the pills contain a banned substance “phenolphthalein”, which the US Food and Drug Administration has recognized as unsafe. It further contains microbial growth above the permissible limits.

“Phenolphthalein has been found to be toxic to genes as it can cause damage or mutations in the DNA. Studies have also shown its potential carcinogenic risks.”


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