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Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Arrests in Nigeria baby poisoning

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Nigerian drug regulators have announced they have arrested 12 people in connection with the poisoning of 111 babies with a tainted medicine.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac) said the accused faced 15 years in jail or a $3,500 (2,441) fine.

Those arrested were from the company that manufactured the drug called "My Pikin" and some of its marketers.

Since November 84 children have died after taking the teething drug.

'Zealous'

The paracetamol-based syrup, used for treating sore gums, was found to have been contaminated with diethylene glycol, used as an engine coolant.

It caused the babies' kidneys to fail.

"We will henceforth zealously prosecute people who manufacture dangerous products that hurt or kill Nigerians," Nafdac head Paul Orhii said.

He said no new cases of illness had been reported by hospitals for more than a month.

All of the deaths recorded occurred in November and December 2008, after the alarm was raised.

More than 5,000 bottles have been taken out of circulation by Nafdac, but it said it is not known how many were made in the tainted batch, or how far the bottles had been distributed.

Authorities have called on private pharmacies to turn over stocks to regulators.

The name My Pikin means "my baby" in Nigerian pidgin.

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SEE ALSO
Nigeria baby poison deaths rise
06 Feb 09 |  Africa
Nigeria tests drug after deaths
28 Nov 08 |  Africa

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