Medicines Authority warns of fake cough syrup on sale

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By Anna Chibamu

THE Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) has warned there was a falsified substandard flumed children’s cough, cold and flu syrup being sold especially in Harare and Chivhu.

In a statement this week, MCAZ reported it was informed by police as part of an ongoing investigation that the falsified Flumed Syrup was sold in a pharmacy in Harare.

The fake medicine is purportedly manufactured by Varichem Pharmaceuticals, which has since denied ever producing the ‘medicine’.

“This Medicinal Product Alert relates to one falsified version of Flumed ® (Paracetamol/ Phenylephrine Hydrochloride/ Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide/ Chlorpheniramine Maleate) syrup circulating in Harare and Chivhu, presented under the name ‘Flumed ® Syrup” manufactured by ‘Varichem Pharmaceuticals’.

“At this stage, several investigations have been done, and it is strongly suspected that the falsified Flumed syrup is substandard,” read part of MCAZ statement.

According to MCAZ, the falsified product Flumed ® Syrup is manufactured by Varichem Phamaceuticals under batch number 260511 with an expiry date of 06/2021.

MCAZ says the bottle of the falsified product is smaller than the original Varichem Pharmaceuticals for Flumed ® Syrup.

The original product and the falsified product have the same batch number but different expiry dates as the falsified product was allocated a batch number similar to original products which expired in 2018.

Through MCAZ, Varichem Pharmaceuticals has also confirmed they did not manufacture the falsified version as the variable details on the product label do not correspond with the genuine manufacturing records indicating labelling and packaging inconsistencies.

A certificate of analysis for the falsified product showed that the active ingredients are at sub-therapeutic levels.

MCAZ however said at this stage, there have been no adverse reactions communicated to its offices.

“If you are in possession of the above mentioned falsified product, please do not consume this product. If you have taken these falsified medical products, or if you suffer an adverse event or an unexpected lack of efficacy, please seek immediate advice from a qualified health professional, and ensure they report the incident to the MCAZ,” stated MCAZ.

Some features to take note on the alleged substandard fake product are that there is a perceivable spelling error on the label for Varichem Pharmaceuticals (written as Varichem Phamaciticals).