Johnson & Johnson Children's Cough Syrup Contaminated In Some Batches - WHO Poised to Issue Global Alert

Benzinga ·  Apr 19 10:17

The World Health Organization (WHO) is poised to issue a broader alert regarding contaminated children's cough syrup produced by Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) in response to the discovery of tainted batches in Nigeria.

Last week, Nigeria's regulatory body recalled a specific batch of Benylin syrup after detecting elevated levels of diethylene glycol during routine testing.

This compound, along with a related toxin, has been implicated in the deaths of over 300 children across several countries since 2022, although no direct link has been established to recent recalls.

The U.N. health agency intended to issue a global medical product alert to prompt heightened vigilance among national authorities, pending confirmation of certain details.

The recalled batch of Benylin syrup originated from Johnson and Johnson in South Africa before the brand's acquisition by Kenvue Inc (NYSE:KVUE) following a spin-off last year.

Reuters noted that Kenvue was conducting an independent assessment and collaborating with health authorities to determine appropriate measures.

In addition to Nigeria, five other African nations, including Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, have withdrawn the product from circulation, with South Africa's regulatory body recalling another batch of the syrup.

Despite the potential risks associated with diethylene glycol consumption, no reported adverse effects have been connected with the recent incident.

Previous instances of contamination in 2022 were traced back to raw materials sourced from manufacturers in India and Indonesia.

The WHO is working closely with South African authorities and the manufacturer to investigate the source of the contamination in the Benylin pediatric syrup, including scrutinizing the origin of the raw ingredients.

Kenvue asserts that pre-manufacture testing revealed no issues with the raw materials, though the possibility of counterfeit products is considered part of ongoing investigations.

Price Action: JNJ shares are up 0.35% at $146.24 at the last check Friday.

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