One of the country’s favourite go-to hangover cures was recalled this week due to fungal contamination.
Some of us may think twice before reaching for paracetamol this weekend after the UK Government issued an alert relating to Class 2 Medicines: Paracetamol 500mg Tablets.
M&A Pharmachem is recalling batches of its product which were first distributed in September 2018. The tablets in question have an expiry date of June 2023.
The Telegraph ran a report this month on headaches being the leading cause of work absences, costing the UK economy £8.8billion a year in lost productivity. National daily tabloid the Sun ran a story last year pitting paracetamol against ibuprofen to decide which fared best for the dreaded hangover – ibuprofen won.
Many reading this article will panic at first, and might even run home to check if they have the fungal paracetamol lurking in their medicine cabinet. However, this blog is not meant to incite panic. It is unlikely that any of the affected tablets will have got to patient-level as they feature a discolouration which is highly noticeable on opening the affected packets.
Wholesalers and healthcare professionals on the other hand have been advised to stop supplying the batches immediately, quarantine all remaining stock and return it to the supplier using the approved process.
So what exactly are these fungi? It has been identified as Penicillium citrinium and Penicillium brevicompactum. These molds do represent a health hazard when consumed because some species produce toxic compounds known as mycotoxins.
What is reassuring though is that products like these very rarely reach the consumer market because organisations like the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) get them first.
The agency is responsible for ensuring that medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion meet applicable standards of safety, quality and efficacy. Its work means that the supply chain is safe and secure.
If you do go home this evening and check the medicine cabinet just in case – you won’t find this product. Rest safe and assured that someone is looking after all of us and your trusty paracetamol is safe to take.