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Posted by on Feb 6, 2009 in Ethics, Pediatrics, Pharma, Toxicology

More Deaths in Nigeria due to Diethylene Glycol

More Deaths in Nigeria due to Diethylene Glycol


The diethylene-glycol-containing “My Pikin Baby Teething Formula” has now killed 84 infants in Nigeria, according to Reuters. A report in November had placed the number of related deaths at 25. Many of those affected to date, 111 total (including the dead), are children between 2 months and 7 years of age.

A nationwide recall has recovered more than 400 bottles of the product, and the Nigerian government has shut down the responsible company, Barewa Pharmaceuticals, in Lagos. Reuters also indicates that “a number of people involved in distributing [the product] have been arrested.”

The AP writes that DEG entered the product when a Barewa official attempted to purchase propylene glycol, a “normal” ingredient in teething formula, from an unregistered chemical dealer on the slum fringes of Lagos. Historically DEG has been a cheap (and very toxic) substitute for glycerin in consumer products. The active ingredient in My Pikin is reported as paracetamol, aka acetaminophen.

Death due to the consumption of DEG is almost universally due to renal shutdown. For a list of previous incidents of DEG-contaminated consumer products, go here, and read ongoing posts about the 1937 Elixir Sulfanilamide disaster in the United States at this blog.

Photo of My Pikin Baby Teething Formula from Vanguard.

bmartin (1130 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.