Kenya And Nigeria Recall J&J Children’s Cough Syrup Over Toxicity

Kenya And Nigeria Recall J&J Children's Cough Syrup Over Toxicity

Kenya’s drug regulator has issued a recall for a batch of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) children’s cough syrup, following Nigeria’s decision to recall the same batch under the Benylin Paediatric brand.

The action comes amidst concerns over the presence of diethylene glycol, a substance linked to fatal outcomes in several countries including Gambia, Uzbekistan, and Cameroon since 2022.

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.

“Benylin Paediatric syrup is indicated for the relief of cough and its congestive symptoms and for the treatment of hay fever and other allergic conditions in children aged 2 to 12 years.

“Diethylene glycol is toxic to humans when consumed and can prove fatal. 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,” NAFDAC In a statement published on its website.

Reuters reported that the batch being recalled was made in South Africa in May 2021 and expires in April 2024. NAFDAC urged those with bottles from the batch to discontinue use or sale and submit them to its nearest office.

In response to these concerns, Kenya’s Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) revealed its plans to ascertain the claim by Nigeria’s health regulator. In a statement, the PPB said it had commenced investigations and advised that sales of certain batches of the product be halted and returned to suppliers.