Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tainted Teething Syrup Kills 84 Babies-12 Arrested

This is an update on the tragic story about babies dying in Nigeria from the tainted teething syrup, “My Pinkin” that was originally posted in December – “Diethylene Glycol Killer On Prowl.”

My Pikin," which means "my child" in local pidgin is now responsible for 84 children aged two months to seven years died from kidney damage linked to My Pinkin -- around three out of four of the 111 children known to have ingested the product.

The actual count is presumed to be higher as many potential victims are in rural areas and have not been included in the count. "Due to the low literacy level in Nigeria and the fact that many people self-medicate and don't go to hospitals, there is the risk some children might have died in villages unreported," said National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). spokesman Abubakar Jimoh.

Twelve suspects have been arrested -- five from Barewa Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer and seven marketers of the fake chemical used for the production of the drug. Three individuals including Kola Okunola, the CEO of Barewa Pharmaceuticals were arraigned on a six-count charge relating to manufacturing adulterated drugs on March 5, 2009. The three pleaded not guilty and have been remanded at the Ikoyi prison in Lagos pending trial of the case.

So far, more than 5,000 bottles have come off the market. But it is unclear how many bottles were produced from a tainted batch or whether any were exported outside Nigeria by small-scale traders.

This is an outrageous tale of betrayal – a tale of greed with a reckless lack of regard for the safety – the safety of small innocent children who ultimately were poisoned at the unsuspecting hands of those who love them most.

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