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South Africa issues recall of J&J’s cough syrup in 6 African countries over toxicity concerns

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South Africa recalls J&J's cough syrup sold in six African nations after suspected toxicity, ET HealthWorld

In a recent development, South Africa’s health regulator has issued a recall for batches of Johnson & Johnson’s children’s cough syrup due to high levels of diethylene glycol. The affected batches were distributed in South Africa, Eswatini, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria. This action comes after a report from the Nigerian health regulator identified the toxin in a batch of Benylin Paediatric Syrup.

Kenya and Nigeria have already initiated recalls for the same syrup, commonly used in the treatment of hay fever and other upper respiratory conditions. Kenvue, the current owner of the Benylin brand following a split from J&J last year, stated that they are conducting their own assessment and collaborating with health authorities to determine the next steps.

High levels of diethylene glycol in cough syrup have been associated with the tragic deaths of numerous children in Gambia, Uzbekistan, and Cameroon since 2022, marking one of the worst incidents of poisoning from oral medication globally. Kenvue emphasized that their safety database did not report any serious adverse events for batches of Benylin Paediatric Syrup released between May 2021 and April 2024.

This alarming recall underscores the critical importance of rigorous quality control processes in pharmaceutical manufacturing to prevent such incidents. The health regulators in the affected countries are working diligently to ensure the safety of consumers and prevent any further harm.

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