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J&J cough syrup recall widens as Tanzania, Rwanda, Zimbabwe join efforts

Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe's drug regulators have recalled a batch of Johnson & Johnson children's cough syrup, following findings by Nigeria of elevated toxicity levels in its laboratory tests.

J&J cough syrup recall widens as Tanzania, Rwanda, Zimbabwe join efforts
  • Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe's drug regulators have recalled a batch of Johnson & Johnson children's cough syrup.
  • The countries join Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa in recalling the same batch of the syrup.
  • Tanzania's Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) said it initiated the recall on April 12, prompted by the Nigerian test findings.
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The countries join Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa in recalling the same batch of the syrup, which is used to treat coughs, hay fever and other allergic reactions in children.

According to Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), laboratory tests on the cough syrup - Benylin Paediatric showed a high level of diethylene glycol, which has been linked to the deaths of dozens of children in Gambia, Uzbekistan and Cameroon since 2022 in one of the world's worst waves of poisoning from oral medication.

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According to Reuters, Tanzania's Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) said it initiated the recall on April 12, prompted by the Nigerian test findings.

According to TMDA spokesperson Gaudensia Simwanza, "This is an exercise that does not involve investigation but rather monitoring to ensure that those affected drugs are removed from the market."

Zimbabwe's Medicines Control Agency said that it did not have a record of the product's importation into Zimbabwe. However, it remains wary of the possibility of the syrup entering the local market through illegal means.

As a precautionary measure, the agency announced plans to intensify inspections to prevent the unauthorized distribution of the product.

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Similarly, Kenya's Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) announced on Thursday, a day after Nigeria's health regulator recalled the same batch of medication under the Benylin Paediatric brand.

The country's drug regulator expects to release its test results on the syrup by Wednesday.

"A review of our safety database doesn't reveal any adverse events reported," the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority said in a statement dated April 12. "However, Rwanda FDA issues the present recall for precautionary measures."

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