Teething medicine poisoned with antifreeze

Dec. 18, 2008 at 10:19 AM   |   Comments

LAGOS, Nigeria, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Teething medicine poisoned with an antifreeze ingredient is believed to have killed at least 34 Nigerian children, government health regulators said.

Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control said it seized more than 5,000 batches of the alleged contaminated My Pikin Teething Mixture.

The agency said it also arrested a sales representative of Barewa Pharmaceuticals Ltd. of Lagos, Nigeria, the drug's manufacturer, after shutting down the drugmaker.

The agency also shut down Tranxell Ltd., which the agency said supplied chemicals to Barewa.

Barewa and Tranxell officials could not immediately be reached for comment, CNN reported.

The Nigerian regulatory agency said tests showed 90 percent of the teething mixture contained the chemical diethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting poisonous substance normally used in engine coolant. It can be also found in some hydraulic fluids and brake fluids.

The poison triggered kidney failure in the children, ranging in age from 4 months to 3 years, the agency said.

Health officials said the number of deaths could be higher than 34 because many parents in Africa's most populous country have no access to basic healthcare.

The agency has received some 100 doses of an antidote from England, it said.

While the teething mixture was made in Nigeria, the agency claimed most counterfeit drugs come from India and China, CNN reported.

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