Antibiotic recalled five days after test
Drug company GlaxoSmithKline has recalled an antibiotic containing toxic plasticisers - five days after the first of the substances was discovered in government tests - but insists the drug is safe.
The company is running advertisements in major Hong Kong newspapers today informing patients about the recall of Augmentin and advising patients to ask their doctors if an exchange of drugs is needed.
'We still believe the drugs are safe, and it was not our intention to add plasticisers,' a spokesman for the drug maker said.
Investigations were still under way, he said, and the recall was being organised in response to a request from the Department of Health.
The department found last Thursday that the 156mg/5ml version of Augmentin powder, made in France, contained 18 parts per million of diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP). On Friday, it was reported that the 457mg/ 5ml batch of Augmentin powder, manufactured in Britain, also contained 88 ppm of DIDP and 1.4 ppm of another plasticiser called diisononyl phthalate (DINP).
The department said the plasticisers were not ingredients of the drug and should not be found in the samples at all. It also warned the company it might deregister the drugs if it refused to co-operate.
Public hospitals stopped using the drug immediately after the announcement. The company contacted private hospitals, private clinics and pharmacies yesterday on the recall. The spokesman said that involved about 700 clients.
Private paediatrician Dr Tse Hung-hing said unless the company could prove its safety, he would not prescribe Augmentin in pill or injection form. He said he had about 100 bottles of Augmentin powder but the company did not tell him when exactly the bottles would be collected.