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“Fake” Tylenol caplets removed from Cayo, Belize and Orange Walk agencies – but where did they come from?

Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2023. 8:12 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: An unknown number of packets of 500-milligram caplets of Tylenol believed to be falsified have been removed from agencies across the Belize, Cayo, and Orange Walk Districts including Belmopan and San Ignacio over the last few days, as the Ministry of Health and Wellness continues its investigation into how they got into Belize.

Dr. Chrystal Samouge, Director of the Ministry’s Drug Inspectorate Unit, detailed for reporters this afternoon in a Zoom call how they were alerted: “In this particular case we actually received an alert, someone was concerned. This is something we do encourage the public, if you feel something is wrong let us know so that we can start an investigation.”

Samples taken from the affected agency and sent to drug maker Johnson and Johnson confirmed that the packets were not theirs. Thus far in the investigation, the Ministry understands, according to Dr Samouge, that merchants were duped into buying from a salesman they had only seen once. The batch number GS13790 with an expiration date of March 2024 does not appear in the Ministry’s importation database, confirming that the product has been illegally brought into Belize, as none of the legitimate importers are likewise aware of any such batch.

The Ministry has reports that some persons have consumed the Tylenol and suffered no adverse side effects, said Dr Samouge, but all the same persons are advised not to consume the product and report it to the Ministry so that it can be gotten rid of.

Dr Samouge concluded that, “We encourage everyone, whether it is a patient, a consumer, a shop keeper, we ask persons to please ensure they purchase medication only from license distributors or license facilities. When we issue a license from the Ministry of Health and Wellness it means that we would have taken steps to ensure that the products they offer are of quality. When someone is purchasing a contraband medication, or medication that is too good to be true because of the price, purchasing from a random stranger that they don’t know, comes around once or twice, the quality of that medication is not guaranteed. It is a very dangerous practice for people to be getting medication and medical supplies from unauthorized and unlicensed distributors. At this time we are in discussion and we are looking to see after we have tracked down the source, what charges can be brought to these persons.”

 

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