Maldives reports contamination in Pakistani syrups, suspension Medicines

World Defense

Maldives reports contamination in Pakistani syrups, suspension Medicines

Pakistani pharmaceutical company Pharmix Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd has come under scrutiny following reports of contamination in its syrups and suspension medicines in the Maldives. The issue has prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to issue a global alert, urging nations to enhance their vigilance and conduct tests on products manufactured by the Lahore-based company.

After receiving information from the Maldives, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) took swift action by sealing the syrup section of Pharmix Laboratories. Legal action may follow pending the results of laboratory tests conducted by Drap.

The contaminants found in the syrups are said to be substances commonly used in hydraulic brake fluids, stamp pad inks, paints, plastics, and cosmetics. Pharmix Laboratories syrup section was officially sealed by Drap in response to the alarming findings.

Fayaz Ahmed, a representative of the company, acknowledged the sealing of the syrup section but denied any deliberate wrongdoing on the part of the company. He refrained from commenting further on the issue at the moment.

The WHO medical product alert specifically mentioned five different syrups and suspension medicines initially identified in the Maldives and Pakistan. These products, including Alergo Syrup, Emidone Suspension, Mucorid Syrup, Ulcofin Suspension, and Zincell Syrup, were flagged as potentially contaminated. A total of 23 batches of these products, all manufactured by Pharmix Laboratories, are affected. Furthermore, some of the tainted products have been identified in Belize, Fiji, and Laos.

In November 2023, the Maldives Food and Drug Authority quality control laboratory detected unacceptable levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants in five batches of Alergo syrup. These substances are commonly used globally in products such as antifreeze, hydraulic brake fluids, inks, pens, solvents, paints, plastics, films, and cosmetics.

Drap CEO Asim Rauf emphasized that the regulator had issued protocols that all companies were obligated to follow. He explained that Pharmix Laboratories had manufactured its products in 2021, before the issuance of these protocols, and contamination was subsequently found in some batches both in the Maldives and within Pakistan. Rauf stated that all syrups from the company had been recalled, the syrup section sealed, and samples sent for further testing in a laboratory.

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