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Buscopan Syrup Recall Warning

Outline
Message warns consumers that Buscopan Syrup with the expiry dates 10/2011, 04/2012, and 06/2012 has been recalled due to contamination.



Brief Analysis
Such a recall did occur in South Africa in August, 2010 after a microbial contamination was detected in certain batches of Buscopan Syrup . However, this current warning is potentially misleading. Please refer to the detailed analysis below for more information.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



Last updated: 7th March 2011
First published: 7th March 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: FW: URGENT WARNING

Everyone with kids!!!

Please also send to your friends and family with small kids

WARNING BUSCOPAN - SYRUP

In today's Beeld on pg 5:

Buscopan syrup with 'use before' dates: 10/2011. 04/2012, 06/2012 for children has been taken off the shelves because of contamination. Please do not give it to babies or children and please inform everyone with small children.




Detailed Analysis
This widely circulated email warns recipients that the medicine Buscopan Syrup with expiry dates 10/2011, 04/2012, and 06/2012 has been removed from shelves due to contamination. It advises people not to give the product to babies and children and asks them to send the information to others with children.

Specific batches of Buscopan Syrup were indeed recalled by South African based company Boehringer Ingelheim back in August 2010 due to possible microbial contamination. An August 2010 statement issued by Boehringer Ingelheim noted:
Boehringer Ingelheim announced a precautionary recall of specific batches of Buscopan 0,1% Syrup 100ml, which is indicated for use in the treatment of conditions associated with gastrointestinal spasm (stomach cramps and colic).

The reason for the recall is that a microbial contamination with a bacterium of the Acinetobacter family was detected in certain batches of the product. However, most strains of this bacterium are considered to be nonpathogenic in healthy individuals.

Expert opinion has been obtained from a microbiologist who stated that "oral ingestion of the organism is very unlikely to cause illness".

To date we have not received any serious adverse events from Southern Africa for the respective batches of Buscopan 0,1 % syrup 100ml.

As a responsible pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim South Africa, has voluntarily decided to recall these specific batches as a precautionary measure.

The batch numbers being recalled are:
Lot No. 194A Expiry Date: 10/2011
Lot No. 201A Expiry Date: 04/2012
Lot No. 205A Expiry Date: 06/2012
Lot No. 206A Expiry Date: 06/2012
Lot No. 207A Expiry Date: 06/2012

Patients in possession of any bottles with the above-mentioned lot numbers (opened or unopened) are requested to immediately refrain from using the product and return the product to their pharmacy for a refund.

The lot number and the expiry date can be located on the top flap of the packaging box and on the bottom right-hand corner of the bottle label.

This recall only applies to the above-mentioned lot numbers.

Statement issued on behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim (Pty) Ltd.
However, while such a recall did take place, the information in the version of the warning that is currently circulating is potentially misleading. Firstly, the warning does not include a specific date but suggests that the recall was reported in "today's Beeld" ( Beeld is an Afrikaans language daily newspaper distributed in South Africa). The claim that the message was reported "today" along with the absence of a date may cause many recipients to erroneously assume that the recall is new. As noted above, the recall actually took place in August 2010 and no such recall has been reissued since then. The misconception that the recall has only just been issued may unnecessarily confuse consumers.

Secondly, while the expiry dates mentioned in the warning are valid, the recall only applied to specific batches of the product with those expiry dates. Thus, the information provided in the message may not be enough to help consumers correctly identify a potentially contaminated bottle of the medication.

Consumers should nevertheless check the batch number and expiry date of any bottles of Buscopan Syrup that they may have.

Email and the Internet can certainly be useful vehicles for alerting consumers about important product recalls. However, the continued circulation of such warnings can be potentially problematical. Some such recall notices continue to circulate for years after the problem that prompted the recall has been fully rectified. Others may exaggerate the extent of the specified problem or include false or misleading information. Before forwarding a recall notice, recipients should ensure that information in the notice is accurate, up-to-date and contains enough information to allow consumers to make an informed decision.

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Buscopan recall
Phenylpropanolamine FDA Recall Warning Email


Last updated: 7th March 2011
First published: 7th March 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer