Monday, November 2, 2009

USP Develops New Testing to Identify Deadly adulterants for Two Pharmaceutical Ingredients

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) this week announced revised standards for two ingredients widely used in pharmaceuticals as sweetening agents and solvents.

USP is a nonprofit, scientific organization that sets legally recognized standards designating the identity, quality, purity, strength and consistency of prescription and over-the-counter medications and their ingredients in the United States. These standards are enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The revisions respond to a request from FDA to revise the USP Propylene Glycol and Sorbitol Solution standards to include limits for diethylene glycol (DEG) to help prevent future episodes of pharmaceutical adulterations with this poisonous chemical. DEG is commonly used in antifreeze and has no legitimate place in medicines.

DEG historically has been substituted for Glycerin with deadly results.
Adulterations of cough syrups and other products with DEG have occurred many times and in many countries, including a tragic episode between November 2008 and January 2009 in which 84 children in Nigeria died after ingesting teething syrup contaminated with DEG. A similar episode occurred in July 2009 in Bangladesh, killing at least 24 children.

To view the press release from USP visit:

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