Toxic Benylin cough syrup nolonger found in Africa – WHO

Dreaded product banned from Zimbabwe, five other countries

By Staff Reporter

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says no African country still has in stock, batches of the banned Benylin Paediatric Syrup feared to contain toxic properties that cause harm to human life.

Zimbabwean authorities recently announced a recall on batches the blacklisted cough medicine.


Five other countries – Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa, where the drug was made – have also pulled the product from the shelves.

Tests found that it contained unacceptable levels of the toxin, diethylene glycol.


The WHO, which has warned countries and companies to be vigilant about the ongoing risk of contamination, said on Friday it was “likely” to issue a broader alert about Benylin.

However, on Monday the health agency said it no longer had immediate plans to do so after getting more information at the end of the week.

“Considering that this batch is no longer on the market in any of the impacted countries and it has been consumed with no apparent reports of adverse effects, we believe that there is no immediate public health risk,” a spokesperson said by email.

The position by WHO is also strengthened by an earlier statement by the Medicine Control Authority of Zimbabwe which said recently it the country has no stocks of the dreaded Benylin syrup.

MCAZ said, “While the Authority confirms that this product was registered in 2023 for use in Zimbabwe, our import database does not show a record of the importation of this product and more specifically these two batches.

“However, there is a concern that through illegal means, the aforementioned batches of Benylin Paediatric Syrup may find their way into the local market.

“As a precautionary measure, the Authority is issuing a recall notice of this product.”

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