Rwanda joins other African countries in recalling J&J children’s cough syrup

By Thomson Reuters Apr 15, 2024 | 6:03 AM

KIGALI (Reuters) – Rwanda’s drug regulator has recalled a batch of Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup as a precautionary measure after its Nigerian counterpart said laboratory tests found high levels of toxicity.

Rwanda joins Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa in recalling the same batch of the syrup, which is used to treat coughs, hay fever and other allergic reactions in children. South Africa has also recalled an additional batch.

The batch recalled was made by J&J in South Africa in May 2021 but Kenvue now owns the Benylin Paediatric syrup brand after a spin-off from J&J last year.

“A review of our safety database doesn’t reveal any adverse events reported,” the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority said in a statement dated April 12. “However, Rwanda FDA issues the present recall for precautionary measures.”

Laboratory tests on the syrup by Nigeria’s health regulator showed a high level of diethylene glycol, which has been linked to the deaths of dozens of children in Gambia, Uzbekistan and Cameroon since 2022 in one of the world’s worst waves of poisoning from oral medication.

Kenvue said in a statement that it was conducting its own assessment and working with health authorities to determine a course of action.

(Reporting by Philbert Girinema; Writing by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Hereward Holland and Susan Fenton)