Cough syrups linked to fatal child kidney injuries not found in Singapore: HSA

HSA advised those who have obtained the medications overseas or from unfamiliar sources to monitor their health. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Syrup and liquid-based medications associated with kidney injuries and deaths in children overseas are not registered and sold in Singapore, said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Saturday.

The HSA noted that the incidents are suspected to have been caused by ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol contamination. These are toxic chemicals.

The affected products are:

1. Termorex Fever

2. Flurin DMP Sirup

3. Unibebi Cough Sirup

4. Unibebi Sirup Fever

5. Unibebi Fever Drops

6. Promethazine Oral Solution

7. Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup

8. Makoff Baby Cough Syrup

9. Magrip N Cold Syrup

They are manufactured and produced by PT Konimex, PT Yarindo Farmatama, Universal Pharmaceutical Industries and Maiden Pharmaceuticals.

“Based on our surveillance, these medicines have not been detected locally so far,” said HSA. “We have also not received any serious adverse events reports of acute kidney injury or death in children related to the consumption of contaminated syrup and liquid-based medicines from our healthcare professionals.”

So far, HSA has not stopped the sale or supply of syrup or liquid-based medications here. But it said it will send out public alerts if there are any local cases and issue recalls.

On Thursday, Indonesia’s Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) ordered three drug manufacturers to withdraw five brands of locally made fever, cough and flu syrups from circulation and destroy the stocks. This came after it found that the medicines contained ethylene glycol in an amount that exceeds the safe limit. Nearly 100 children died due to acute kidney injuries this year.

Meanwhile, Gambia is investigating child acute kidney injury deaths linked to paracetamol syrups after 70 fatalities there. The syrups were made by New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals, which India is investigating.

HSA said all syrup and liquid-based medications sold here are required to meet international standards of quality, safety and efficacy. It assesses clinical studies data, manufacturing and quality control processes, and conducts checks to ensure that manufacturers conform to international Good Manufacturing Practice standards.

Two of the cough syrups linked to the fatal child kidney injuries.  PHOTO: WHO

HSA advised those who have obtained the medications overseas or from unfamiliar sources to monitor their health and consult a doctor if they feel unwell.

Signs and symptoms of acute kidney injury include decreased urine output, swelling in legs, ankles and around the eyes, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath and confusion. It also advised the public to exercise caution when buying health products online or from unfamiliar overseas sources.

“HSA will continue to monitor the situation closely and will also step up our surveillance checks to ensure that medicines available locally continue to be safe for use,” it said.

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