Pakistan seized a poisonous batch of propylene glycol solvent, used in cough syrups, labeled as originating from Dow Chemical, Thailand, as announced by the nation’s drug regulatory authority on January 11.
The move comes after alarming reports linked toxic propylene glycol in cough syrups to the tragic deaths of over 300 children across Indonesia, Gambia, and Uzbekistan since 2022. The World Health Organization specifically tied these fatalities, occurring outside Indonesia, to cough syrups manufactured in India.
“The Regulatory field force has taken possession of a contaminated batch of Propylene Glycol and is investigating the entire supply chain of this batch,” Pakistan’s drug authority said in an alert, ordering the recall from local and export markets of any products manufactured from the same batch of propylene glycol.
“The batch was labeled as manufactured by Dow Chemical, Thailand,” it said.
The drug authority shed light on the findings from the Central Drug Laboratory in Karachi, revealing an alarming level of ethylene glycol in the sampled batch.
It said that Ethylene Glycol’s ingestion can “affect the central nervous system, and heart, and can cause kidney damage, which can be fatal.”
While the situation is of utmost concern, it remains unclear whether any amount of the imported chemical has been utilized in locally produced cough syrup.
The drug authority, erring on the side of caution, has directed the temporary suspension of finished products manufactured from any other batches of propylene glycol originating from Dow Chemical, Thailand.
Despite the gravity of the situation, Dow Chemical, Thailand, remained silent, offering no comment in response to the authorities’ concerns.
This decisive action aims to protect public health and prevent any potential harm associated with the contaminated propylene glycol. As the investigation unfolds, authorities are working diligently to ensure the safety of pharmaceutical products in both local and export markets, prioritizing the well-being of the population.