The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning regarding a batch of tainted cough syrup, known as “Naturcold,” identified in Cameroon. The global health body expressed concerns that this dangerous product might find its way into neighboring countries, including Nigeria.
The syrup was brought to WHO’s attention on June 27 and subsequently analyzed in a reputable laboratory. The results revealed that the product, “Naturcold,” contained an alarming level of diethylene glycol, a colorless, odorless liquid used as a cheaper alternative to glycerin in cough syrups. While the acceptable limit of diethylene glycol is 0.10 per cent, the samples of “Naturcold” contained an alarming 28.6 per cent.
The manufacturer listed on the product packaging, Fraken International (England), has been deemed non-existent by the United Kingdom’s regulatory authority, MHRA. As diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans and can be fatal if ingested, WHO urges extreme caution and advises against the use of this product, especially in children. Toxic effects may include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to urinate, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury, which can lead to death.
The origin of the product is still under investigation, and the stated manufacturer has not provided any guarantees to WHO regarding the safety and quality of “Naturcold.” It is possible that this substandard product has been authorized for sale in other countries or regions, and it may have also found its way into neighboring countries through informal markets.
WHO calls for increased surveillance and vigilance in the supply chains of countries and regions that could potentially be affected by this dangerous product. Additionally, they emphasize the need for heightened monitoring of informal or unregulated markets.
Recall that earlier this year, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria warned against the use of this cough syrup after it was associated with the deaths of six children under the age of five at a health facility in Cameroon.