Glass slivers prompt medicine recall

Last updated 05:00 24/07/2014
Cromwell Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Jackie Hamilton with bottles of Actavis Amoxicillin oral liquid collected from patients following the recall of the medicine last week.
SPOTTED" Cromwell Pharmacy owner Jackie Hamilton with bottles of Actavis Amoxicillin oral liquid collected from patients following the recall.

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An eagle-eyed Cromwell pharmacist who spotted a shard of glass in a bottle of Amoxicillin sparked a national recall of the medicine.

Pharmaceutical company Actavis last week recalled about 50,0000 bottles of the medicine after glass fragments were found in two bottles.

The recall applied only to the liquid form of the drug, which comes in two strengths, 125mg/5mL and 250mg/5mL, and is commonly given to children with glue ear, and chest, skin and urinary tract infections.

Cromwell Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Jackie Hamilton said a staff member was shocked to discover a sharp shard of glass inside a sealed bottle of Amoxicillin on July 12.

"The pharmacist found it while inspecting the bottle. It comes to us in a powder and we reconstitute it with water. So she was rolling the powder around in the bottle checking it when she noticed a long dark shard of glass in there.

"Her immediate concern was there could be other slivers. The first thing we did was quarantine it and contact Actavis. We were shocked and did what we had to do."

Hamilton had to contact 25 different families who had received the medicine in the seven days prior to the recall, she said.

"It was quite challenging - I probably spent four hours contacting people, leaving messages and talking to worried people not sure what they should do. It was quite a full-on situation because it is such a high-use medication this time of year."

She also rang the medical centres and recalled the Amoxicillin they had in their cupboards, she said.

"New Zealand has a good process for quality control so as soon as there is deemed to be a potential issue the whole country goes into recall mode, and pharmacies are at the centre of that chain. It's about making sure children are safe and parents are confident about the quality of medicine they are given."

An Actavis spokesman said it was working closely with Medsafe to investigate the matter.

The Ministry of Health website says the glass fragments appear to have been displaced during the manufacturing process of the product.

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- The Southland Times

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