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South Africa joins Nigeria, Kenya in recalling toxic children’s cough syrup  

South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has announced the recall of batches of Johnson & Johnson’s children’s cough syrup due to elevated levels of diethylene glycol, a toxic substance.  

The affected batches were distributed in South Africa, Eswatini, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria, according to a statement released on Saturday. 

The recall 

This recall comes after the Nigerian health regulator reported the presence of the toxin in a batch of Benylin Paediatric Syrup earlier in the week.  

Kenvue (KVUE.N), the current custodian of the Benylin brand since its split from Johnson & Johnson in 2023, has remained silent amidst mounting inquiries regarding the recall of children’s cough syrup.  

The recalled batch, produced by Johnson & Johnson in South Africa in May 2021 with an expiration date of April 2024, is currently under intense scrutiny by regulatory bodies.  

Their primary objective is to ensure public safety and avert potential health risks associated with the consumption of the affected syrup. 

The recall was initiated following an announcement on April 10th, 2024, by Nigeria’s drug regulatory authority, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).  

NAFDAC’s declaration highlighted concerns over Benylin pediatric syrup, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. 

Laboratory analysis of the implicated batch, identified by the number 329304, revealed alarming levels of diethylene glycol.  

This toxic compound is notorious for inducing severe symptoms upon ingestion, including abdominal pain, vomiting, and acute kidney injury.