Cough Syrup Medicines That Cause Kidney Injury In Children Not Distributed In S’pore: HSA

Syrup Medicines Linked To Kidney Injury In Children Not Registered Or Sold In Singapore

Recently, Indonesia’s health minister revealed that some medicinal syrups available in the country have been linked to fatal acute kidney injury (AKI) in children.

On Saturday (22 Oct), the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said the affected cough, cold, flu, and fever medicines are not registered or distributed in Singapore.

medicine kidney injury

Source: Bangkok Post

Nonetheless, some could have obtained these medicines from overseas or other sources.

HSA urged the public to exercise caution when buying health products.

Medicines linked to kidney injury in children not detected locally

In a press release on Saturday (22 Oct), HSA shared that the overseas reports of kidney injury or deaths in children linked to medicinal syrups were suspected to be caused by the contamination of medicines with toxic chemicals ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol.

The affected medicines comprise cough, cold, flu, and fever medicines, none of which are registered in Singapore.

Based on HSA’s surveillance, these medicines have not been detected locally so far.

The authority also has not received any serious adverse events reports of acute kidney injury or deaths in children related to the consumption of contaminated syrup from healthcare professionals.

Thus far, HSA has not stopped the sale or supply of syrup or liquid-based medicines in Singapore.

Medicines sold here go through stringent checks

HSA shared that the authority approves all syrup and liquid-based medicines for sale in Singapore. These products must meet the stipulated international standards of quality, safety, and efficacy to obtain approval.

HSA assesses clinical studies data, manufacturing, and quality control processes to ensure this.

Even after approval, manufacturers must test all batches of medicines, including contamination levels, before selling them here.

Regular inspections are done on local licensed manufacturers, importers, and distributors to ensure compliance.

HSA also monitors adverse events and conducts risk-based product testing, including for contaminants in the medicine.

Public urged to exercise caution when buying medicine online

While the medicines linked to kidney injury in children are not registered in Singapore, members of the public could have gotten them overseas or via unfamiliar sources.

If so, they should monitor their health and consult a doctor if unwell.

Signs and symptoms to look out for in acute kidney injury include:

  • decreased urine output
  • swelling in legs, ankles, and around the eyes due to fluid retention
  • fatigue or tiredness
  • nausea
  • shortness of breath
  • confusion

HSA strongly advises the public to exercise caution when buying health products online or from unfamiliar overseas sources.

There is no knowing where and how these products were made and whether they have been contaminated, said the authority.

If purchasing medicine online, the public is encouraged to buy them from reputable retailers’ websites or those with an established retail presence in Singapore.

HSA will monitor the situation closely and step up surveillance checks to ensure medicines available locally remain safe for use.

They assured that should there be any safety concerns, they will alert the public and take the necessary actions to recall the affected medicines or stop their sale or supply.

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