The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has announced that it successfully intercepted a contaminated batch of propylene glycol solvent. This particular batch was marked as being produced by Dow Chemical, Thailand. However, Dow Chemical’s Thailand office has not yet stated its response to this development.
Global Health Concerns and Regulatory Actions
This critical action by DRAP is part of a broader response to a troubling health crisis. Toxic propylene glycol in cough syrups has been identified as a potential cause of over 300 child fatalities in Indonesia, Gambia, and Uzbekistan since 2022. The World Health Organization has traced the cause of these deaths outside Indonesia back to cough syrups manufactured in India.
DRAP’s alert included instructions for the immediate recall of any products sourced from this contaminated batch of propylene glycol, both in local and export markets. The Central Drug Laboratory in Karachi analyzed a sample of the batch and discovered an alarmingly high level of Ethylene Glycol, a substance known for its severe health risks, including potential damage to the central nervous system, heart, and kidneys, which can be fatal.
The extent to which this imported chemical has been used in local cough syrups remains unclear. Meanwhile, DRAP has ordered a halt to distributing finished products from any other batches of propylene glycol supplied by Dow Chemical Thailand, pending further investigation.