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WHO Confirms Contaminated Benylin Syrup No Longer Available in African Countries Where It Was Sold

The recalled batch of Benylin syrup, contaminated with diethylene glycol, is off shelves in African nations where it was sold.

The World Health Organization announced on Monday that the contaminated batch of Benylin Paediatric Syrup which was recalled earlier this month in Nigeria due to unacceptable levels of diethylene glycol is no longer on sale in the African countries where it was distributed.

The recall affected not only Nigeria but also five other African nations where the product was manufactured and distributed, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.

The particular batch of Benylin syrup in question was produced by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in South Africa in May 2021, although it is now owned by Kenvue following a spin-off from J&J last year.

While J&J referred inquiries to Kenvue, the latter stated in an email on Friday that they had conducted tests on the recalled batch but did not detect diethylene or ethylene glycol. Despite this, they continued to collaborate with the authorities to ensure safety standards.

Diethylene glycol, a toxin, can lead to acute kidney failure and has been associated with the deaths of over 300 children in various countries like Cameroon, Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan since 2022. However, no reports of adverse effects related to the contaminated Benylin syrup have been reported in children in the latest incident.

Initially, the WHO had indicated it was “likely” to issue a broader alert about Benylin, but as of Monday, they no longer intend to do so. They cited the fact that the affected batch is no longer on the market in any of the impacted countries and that it has been consumed without any apparent adverse effects. Therefore, the WHO believes there is no immediate public health risk associated with the recalled syrup.

Melissa Enoch

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