Over 3,000 bottles of medication contaminated with chemical imported in past two years

A pharmacist fills out a prescription at a pharmacy in Maldives. (File Photo/Sun)

Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) states 3,100 bottles of Alergo have been imported to the Maldives since 2021.

Speaking at the Parliament’s Human Rights and Gender Committee on Monday over the ban of many medications subsequent to contamination with dangerous chemicals – MDFA’s Senior Pharmacist said 3,100 bottles of the medication had been imported over the past two years.

Following their order banning the medication, MFDA said they have received confirmation that all pharmacies have removed the medication from shelves.

However, they said the total amount of bottles removed by the pharmacies is unclear at the moment.

As per the Senior Pharmacists, the testing system in the Maldives does bear the capacity to test chemicals, adding that the chemical is identified through an extremely costly testing method.

World Health Organization (WHO) had warned against using the medication back in 2022, in light of side effects reported from some countries following the usage of the medication.

The Senior Pharmacists said Maldives had been unable to confirm these warmings back then as the medication that were already in the Maldives had not been manufactured by the same company while a comprehensive result had not been attained from the medication in the Maldives due to lack of a quality testing system.

“Our current testing method was published by WHO on October 31, 2023. We started testing on November 6. Because we did not have a method for so long back then, we mostly focused on ensuring none of the products arrived in the Maldives’ surveillance market,” the senior pharmacist said.

Alergo, manufactured in Pakistan, was banned citing contamination with two harmful substances - diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol - that can cause serious medical complications if ingested.