Contaminated Dow Chemical solvent in Pakistan raises concerns

Pakistan’s drug regulatory authority seized a batch of propylene glycol solvent, labelled as Dow Chemical, Thailand, due to contamination with ethylene glycol emphasizing the need for quality control measures.

Pakistan’s drug regulatory authority has seized a batch of propylene glycol solvent labelled to be manufactured by Dow Chemical, Thailand, revealing contamination with an unacceptable level of ethylene glycol. This action comes in response to worries about toxic propylene glycol being associated with over 300 child fatalities in Indonesia, Gambia, and Uzbekistan since 2022. The World Health Organization has connected the deaths outside Indonesia to cough syrups manufactured in India.

The regulatory field force in Pakistan is actively investigating the entire supply chain of the contaminated propylene glycol batch. The drug authority issued an alert, mandating the recall of any products manufactured from the same batch, emphasizing the serious health risks associated with ethylene glycol ingestion, including impacts on the central nervous system, heart, and potential extreme kidney damage.

Dow Chemical, Thailand, has not responded to requests for comments regarding the contaminated batch. The situation raises concerns about the safety and quality of pharmaceutical ingredients, prompting heightened scrutiny and calls for thorough investigations into supply chains.

The drug authority’s analysis of a sample from the contaminated batch, conducted at the Central Drug Laboratory in Karachi, revealed the presence of ethylene glycol at an unacceptable level. This finding underscores the importance of stringent quality control measures in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure the safety of medical products.

While the specific use of the imported chemical in local cough syrups remains unclear, the drug authority has taken a proactive approach by ordering the recall of products. Additionally, it has directed the suspension of finished products manufactured from any other batch of propylene glycol from Dow Chemical, Thailand.

This development highlights the global nature of pharmaceutical supply chains and the critical need for regulatory bodies to collaborate, share information, and conduct thorough inspections to prevent the distribution of unsafe products. The ongoing investigations and regulatory actions in Pakistan underscore the importance of maintaining robust quality control and monitoring systems to safeguard public health. As the situation unfolds, authorities need to trace and address potential lapses in the supply chain, enforce corrective measures, and ensure transparency in communicating risks to the public. The pharmaceutical industry’s commitment to stringent quality standards is crucial in maintaining trust and ensuring the safety of medical products worldwide.