Monday, May 10, 2010

Controversial medicines partially recalled in the UAE

The Gulf Today, 4 May 2010

THE pharmacists and doctors across the UAE have received on Monday the circular issued by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to partially remove the internationally recalled children's medicines off the shelves.
The registration and drug control department at the MoH decided to temporarily suspend the distribution of the drugs in the UAE markets, and recall the medications and return the remaining quantities to the local agent, says a senior member of the ministry.
The worldwide recall of more than 40 over-the-counter (OTC) infant and children's medicines had left parents, doctors and pharmacists of the UAE confused for a couple of days, as they didn't receive instructions from the MoH to withdraw the drugs.
According to the MoH circular, the health ministry has decided to recall only "Tylenol Drops and Suspensions" medicines from the UAE's pharmaceutical markets, a WAM statement read.
The drugs recalled worldwide included Tylenol Infants' Drops, Children's Tylenol Suspensions, Tylenol Plus, Motrin Drops, Children's Liquid Zyrtec and Children's Allergy Benadryl.
Meanwhile, the MoH has confirmed that Zyrtec Allergy Liquid will be available in medical stores, as it meets the medication products and specifications.
Dr Amin Al Amiri, executive director for medical practices and licenses at the MoH, said that the Zyrtec Allergy Liquid arriving from the European countries to the UAE, is excluded from the list of medications affected and recalled in the US markets.
"The medication has been proved to be meeting the medication products and specifications, in detailed examinations conducted by the MoH," he added. "All the UAE pharmacists and doctors working in both private and public sectors have been communicated to stop prescribing and selling the children's version of a range of liquid and tablet medications for cough and cold."
"Based on the communication from the drug manufacturer McNeill Consumer Healthcare, the listed products were recalled from the medical shops as they do not meet the quality standards," he pointed out. "The OTC range of child medications contained a higher concentration of active ingredients, and had the potential for serious crystals in their packages."
Dr Fatima al Braiki, at the ministry's drug registration section, had said that only three of the products were available in the UAE markets.
Dr Amiri urged all doctors, pharmacists and consumers, if they have queries about the recalled medications or are suffering from their side effects, to inform the MoH's drug registration and control department, via telephone on 02-6117391/02-6117318, or fax at 02-6313742, or by email at
"In light of the recall of the medicines by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the ministry focused on maintaining the public health safety in the UAE. The MoH closely monitors the situation, emphasising the safety of the drugs," he added.
“The drug control department of and Pharmaco Vigilance Committee at the MoH has implemented the decision to recall the medications, in cooperation with local health authorities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and all MoH facilities in the Northern Emirates ", explained Dr Amiri.

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