Health officials from Kerala’s Malappuram district have issued a freeze order for two batches of deworming tablets which were distributed to various Primary Health Centres (PHCs) ahead of National Deworming Day on February 10.
The tablets were found to be discolored and raised concerns about safety and quality as a result of which officials have decided to issue the order.
“Generally whenever we receive any supply of medicines, we do a basic quality check to see if there has been any obvious issues with packaging or storage of the medicines which may have affected its quality. When that was done with the albendazole tablets, some discoloration was noted and as a precaution we issued the order,” stated Dr K Sakeena, District Medical Officer (DMO) of Malappuram to TNM.
A “freeze order” was issued for the batch of albendazole tablets which were supplied by Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited asking for the batch of the drugs to not be utilised or distributed until further notice.
The 400 milligram albendazole chewable tablets are given to young children for deworming and parasite eradication. This is advised on a yearly basis for small children in an effort to prevent worm and parasite infestations which could cause malnutrition (including anaemia). National Deworming Day is observed each year in February in an effort to spread widespread awareness about such health problems and to ensure that all children are given deworming tablets to prevent them.
Earlier this month, a seven-year-old girl from Telangana died after she was reportedly administered a deworming tablet and 10 others fell ill. While this raised concerns about the quality of the tablets, officials are currently investigating the issue and have yet to ascertain whether the administered tablets were at fault.