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Monday, May 10, 2010

Confusion persists in UAE over the recall of children’s medicines

BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 3 May 2010

The recall of more than 40 over-the-counter infant and children’s medicines from pharmacies has left some parents, doctors and pharmacists in the UAE confused as there have been no clear-cut instructions from the authorities.
The children’s version of a range of liquid and tablet medications for cough and cold had been ordered to be removed off the shelves worldwide on Saturday as they failed to meet the required quality standards.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and McNeil Consumer Healthcare issued a statement voluntarily recalling the drugs including Tylenol Infants’ Drops, Children’s Tylenol Suspensions, Tylenol Plus, Motrin Drops, Children’s Liquid Zyrtec and Children’s Allergy Benadryl.
The drug manufacturer urged parents to stop giving the medicine to their children as a precautionary measure, as some of them contain higher concentration of active ingredient than specified, and some others are possibly tainted by particles.
However, many pharmacists in the UAE said that so far no circular has been received from the Ministry of Health ordering the removal of the controversial list of medicines.
A doctor practicing in Sharjah told this correspondent that she was surprised to know that many doctors still prescribe such medicines, even when there are aware about the adverse affects.
“Many of the recalled medicines should not be advised to patients, but some of them should be allowed to be prescribed with caution depending on circumstances, as they help relieve symptoms of respiratory tract problems like cold and influenza,” she opined.
“The doctors are perplexed over the questions posed by patients on the prescribed medicines whether they have been included in the banned list,” she added.
A pharmacist based in Rolla, Sharjah said that the demand for the recalled medicines still continue, as they received some doctors’ prescriptions for the medicines on Sunday.
Another pharmacist remarked that they have been informed not to provide only Tynelol. But, so far no notification has been received on the rest of the medicines in the banned list.
Kenzy Shami, mother of a four-year-old daughter, said she felt very scared as her daughter has been consuming the medications in the recalled list, since her early days of birth.
“During the last two weeks, my daughter consumed a banned medicine which was prescribed for nostril allergy. I stopped giving her the medicines as we got to know about its dangers,” she said.
“When I discussed with the doctor, he advised us to continue the same until an official notice is issued in this regard. He assured that there was nothing to worry about the risks of the medication if it’s continued,” said the mother.
“Parents don’t have to panic as a variety of substitute medications for the same sort of diseases are available in the market,” said another pharmacist.

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