‘Alert over Nurofen Plus drug mix-up’, BBC News, 25 August 2011

From BBC News, 25 August 2011

Consumers are being warned to check packs of Nurofen Plus after it emerged that thousands could mistakenly contain antipsychotic drugs.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a safety alert following reports that some batches contained Seroquel XL 50mg instead of Nurofen Plus.

The affected 32-tablet packs are in batches numbered 13JJ, 57JJ and 49JJ.

People with affected packets should return them to their pharmacy.

The mix-up is still under investigation, and packs from the three batches have been found across the UK.

Seroquel XL is a prescription-only anti-psychotic drug used to treat several disorders including schizophrenia, mania and bipolar depression.

Nurofen Plus is for pain relief and contains codeine and ibuprofen.

Each of the affected batches contains between 4,000 and 7,500 packs – around half a million in total. But not all the packs are affected.

‘Serious investigations’

The Seroquel tablets are larger and have gold and black packaging, compared with the Nurofen Plus tablets which are smaller and have silver and black packaging.

Nurofen Plus is stocked behind the counter in chemists, so people cannot simply pick it up.
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Ian Holloway, from the MHRA’s defective medicines report centre (DMRC), said: “People should check to see if they have any affected packets of Nurofen Plus.

“If you do, return them to the pharmacy where you bought them from.

“You can also report this to the MHRA’s DMRC on 020 3080 6574.”

He added: “If you have taken a tablet and you have any questions, speak to your GP.”

There have been three reports of affected packs. Two people are believed to have taken Seroquel by mistake, but are not thought to have experienced any ill-effects.

In a statement, Reckitt Benckiser which makes Nurofen Plus, said the three cases so far been identified had all been in south London.

And it said “serious investigations” were under way to establish how the mix-up occurred, especially as Seroquel XL is manufactured by another drug firm, AstraZeneca.

It added: “After careful review of the manufacturing system, manufacturing errors by the makers of Nurofen Plus or Seroquel XL are not thought to be part of the cause at this stage.”

Dr Aomesh Bhatt, medical director for Nurofen Plus, said: “We are taking this matter extremely seriously and we are working closely with the MHRA to investigate fully.

“Additionally, we are in the process of working to ensure the Nurofen Plus packs are double-checked by pharmacy staff before they are handed to customers.

“We encourage consumers of Nurofen Plus to be vigilant and, while it is very unlikely, should they find they have a suspect pack or if they have any other concerns, we advise them to speak to the pharmacist where they purchased the product.”

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