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Mandatory recall of Alergo Anti-Allergy Syrup following WHO alert

HighlightsMandatory recall of Alergo Anti-Allergy Syrup following WHO alert

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Nov. 24, 2023

The Ministry of Health & Wellness (MoHW) of Belize has issued a mandatory recall for Alergo (cetirizine) Anti-Allergy Syrup, produced by Pharmix Laboratories (Private) Limited, due to potential contamination of the syrup with harmful substances.

The recall follows an alert from the World Health Organization (WHO) about the possible contamination of the syrup with diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG), which are recognized as dangerous impurities.

Persons possessing this medication are urged to immediately cease its use and return it to any nearby pharmacy or clinic. The ministry also advises those who have experienced unexplained adverse effects after taking this medication to contact the Drug Inspectorate Unit at MoHW or their nearest health center.

In an interview, Dr. Chrystal Samouge, Chief Drug Inspectorate at the MoHW, shed light on the situation. “We identified that 2 batches of the products had entered Belize. One batch entered in late 2022, and one batch entered in May 2023. The lab that it came out of is Pharmix Laboratories, PVT limited; that’s a laboratory in Pakistan,” she explained.

Dr. Samouge emphasized that DEG and EG, once standard solvents in pharmaceuticals, are no longer recommended due to safer alternatives like glycerin.

“The effects that we would see … we would see it occurring in about an hour, and it would start with simple symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and eye movement. It would really depend on the quantity that is ingested,” Dr. Samouge stated.

She further detailed that the regulatory authorities in Pakistan will investigate Pharmix Laboratories, which could lead to severe repercussions, including revocation of their Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate.

As the recall process is ongoing, citizens are encouraged to stay informed and adhere to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Wellness.

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