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Manufacturer of killer-syrup has admitted error, says NAFDAC

Posted by Oyeyemi Oyedeji on 2008/12/01 | Views: 1480 |

Manufacturer of killer-syrup has admitted error, says NAFDAC


The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NAFDAC) yesterday alleged that Barewa Pharmaceuticals Limited (BPL) has admitted error in buying the chemical used in producing the killer-syrup, My Pikin Baby Teething Mixture.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NAFDAC) yesterday alleged that Barewa Pharmaceuticals Limited (BPL) has admitted error in buying the chemical used in producing the killer-syrup, My Pikin Baby Teething Mixture.

No fewer than 35 children have been reportedly killed after using the drug.

A statement by NAFDACís Director-General, Prof. Dora Akunyili, claimed that upon being confronted with incontrovertible evidence of the killer-syrup, "the Managing Director broke down weeping, stating ... it is finished! It is my entire fault."

But the firmís counsel Ayo Kusamotu told The Nation last night that he was not aware that the firm admitted any error on its part.

Akunyili said when the agency visited the company last week and asked for the documents on the recall of the killer-syrup, the managing director became remorseful.

"It was at this visit, when the agency confronted the managing director with incontrovertible evidence of the error of purchase, and use of "dispensed" so-called propylene glycol from a chemical marketer, and the fact that the Quality Assurance Manager did not confirm, via a certificate of analysis of the said raw material from the source, but released it to be used for production of several batches, that the managing director (name withheld) broke down weeping and stated to the NAFDAC team and his management, "It is finished! It is my entire fault."

"He turned round to his Quality Assurance Manager and said, "Let us state the truth, you also purchased some of those items," Mrs. Akunyili said.

She added that the arrested chemical marketer, Ikem Omalu, who owned Tranxell Limited where the pharmaceutical company bought the toxic chemical used for producing the killer-syrup, has refused to assist the agency to contact the importer of the banned chemical- Diethylene Glycol.

"To this end, other chemical marketers are also being screened to identify any leftovers of such illegally marketed raw materials. And right now, the agency is testing other brands of paracetamol syrup from all over the country to ensure that none is contaminated with diethyleneglycol," Mrs. Akunyili said.

She added: "The reporting system whereby the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) wrote to the Minister of Health when this situation broke out is not the best for our system. We even have pharmacovigilance centre in such hospitals. LUTH is supposed to report straight to NAFDAC when the problem started so that it will be swift in addressing it to forestall more deaths.

"Unfortunately, the Management wrote to the Ministry of Health. Government carved out NAFDAC from the Ministry of Healthís Drug and Food Directorate in 1993 to eliminate such administrative bottlenecks so that the Agency can act swiftly and more efficiently on food and drug issues and report activities to the Minister who can advise.

"Companies all over the world make mistakes from time to time. The point is how they manage the crisis when it happens. Prompt and effective crisis management that rapidly reassures the public and also removes all possibility of danger to the public is what is needed. Denying or passing the blame helps no one. In this case of My Pikin baby teething mixture, NAFDAC has taken prompt and effective crisis management of the situation, by closing down the production outfit, ordering the withdrawal of all products from the market, and informing the public. The nation is assured of the agencyís continuous safeguarding of the health of the people."

Contacted on phone, Kusamotu said: "I cannot comment on the issue until tomorrow (today). I am not aware of the company admitting neither error in purchase nor the Managing Director

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.