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Monday, July 15, 2024

Medicine bought by the UN immobilized by fungus

Due to suspected fungal contamination, the Health Institute for Welfare (Insabi) quarantined “all batches” of mometasone for inhalation, a drug purchased via the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

Derived from the detection of these possible impurities “compatible with fungal colonies”, the Insabi issued an urgent letter, on May 27, to various health institutions in the country, such as the IMSS and the ISSSTE, to stop deliveries and distribution of the product.

He requested to carry out the inspection of the logistics operators’ own or sub-leased facilities, warehouses or health units, with the aim of reviewing the conditions of the drug from the supplier Quimpharma.

He also asked to carry out the corresponding pharmacovigilance actions of the products in question and to notify the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) of the unfavorable findings.

Additionally, he asked to notify, “before 12:00 noon on May 29, the physical location and name of the warehouses or establishments in which the indicated drugs are located, provide quantities, batches, presentations and expiration dates,” he refers the office rotated by the Insabi.

The nasal spray, which contains mometasone, is an anti-inflammatory from the corticosteroid group and is used mainly in allergic conditions such as rhinitis.

This is not the first time that there have been problems with drug purchases made by Mexico through UNOPS.

Just last weekend, La Razón reported that, although this UN office managed to allocate 576 codes for medicines and supplies for the second half of 2022, again, as on previous occasions, it did not meet the 100 percent requirement.

Last year, Quimpharma Laboratories won four international public tenders within the contracts made by UNOPS. One of them, dated May 26, was to obtain a contract for 38,817,624 pesos for the acquisition of three keys: mometasone, lidocaine and ibuprofen.

The other three contracts were for the purchase of lactulose (two million 571 thousand 246 pesos), nitazoxanide (13 million 654 thousand 207 pesos) and almond oil (six million 075 thousand 910 pesos).

Insabi sources consulted by this newspaper pointed out that the institute’s determination to quarantine mometasone is a preventive measure that they carry out together with Cofepris, and it is a routine action that is generally done with all medicines. They detailed that they are very large batches and one of them was able to come out with “a detail”. They also highlighted that there is no shortage, since there are other suppliers.

Jaime Bustos, professor-researcher at the Microbiology and Molecular Biology laboratory at the UAM, explained that the drug is used nasally for inflammation issues.

“This medicine is possibly contaminated with fungi and can cause a respiratory infection and is dangerous… What Insabi must do is check that it is free of any pathogenic agent and, if it is contaminated, remove it,” he said.

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