Ministry halts distribution of antibiotic drug, Flagyl

The Ministry of Health has declared Metronidazole drug undesirable and stayed its distribution following reports of tablet discoloration. 
Metronidazol is a common antibacterial drug.  Net photo.
Metronidazol is a common antibacterial drug. Net photo.

The Ministry of Health has declared Metronidazole drug undesirable and stayed its distribution following reports of tablet discoloration. 

Metronidazole (Flagyl) is an antibiotic used to fight bacteria in the body. It has over the years been used in treating diarrhoea and other stomach complications such as cramps.

“Metronidazole has been quarantined and shall not be distributed in health facilities or pharmacies due to reports of its discoloration,” the ministry said in a statement. 

Discoloration is when a tablet takes a different colour or loses its initial appearance.

However, no adverse effects to health has been reported in Rwanda as of now, according to the ministry.

The statement said the Medical Procurement and Production Division (MPPD) of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre is currently engaging in a deeper review of its relationships with its suppliers to ensure that all the products it acquires always meet the highest standards, following these findings.

“The solution for proactive and timely control of counterfeit drugs demands strong local measures to protect the health of the population,” Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the minister for health, said.

Understanding discoloration

Lambert Ingabire, a pharmacist at King Faisal Hospital, said when a drug faces discoloration, it is not supposed to be used.

 Drug discoloration is an indication that the particular medicine does not fulfil its chemical reliability, he said.

“This shows that there is some sort of reaction happening which might alter the initial compound or chemical composition. So you can’t be sure if the drug is still effective or if it won’t cause any negative reaction,” Ingabire said.

Drug discoloration might also cause some reaction, which might alter the initial compound or chemical composition, according to the pharmacist.

The Ministry of Health assured the public that there is no cause for alarm, and on-going quality inspections will continue in order to improve the quality of medicine prescribed in Rwanda.

The MPPD has an on-going quality inspection system in place to check medical products as they enter the national supply chain system.

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