Spain drug mix-up gives toddlers full body hair: families

AP, GRANADA, Spain

Mon, Sep 02, 2019 - Page 5

Parents in Spain whose babies and toddlers developed abnormal body hair plan to sue a company that put a hair-loss treatment into containers meant for a medicine, a mother of one of the children said on Saturday.

Spanish health authorities have blamed the packaging mix-up involving the topical treatment minoxidil and omeprazole syrup, which is used for stomach problems, on Farma-Quimica Sur.

At least 20 children, ranging from newborns to two-year-olds, have been affected, the Spanish Ministry of Health has said.

The mislabeled medicine was recalled in July and the company was closed down until an investigation into the error is completed.

The mother of one of the children, a 10-month-old baby, told reporters that families were preparing to file a joint lawsuit against the company.

Angela Martinez said the family doctor prescribed omeprazole syrup in January to treat her son Uriel’s acidy stomach.

The baby began growing darker hair in March, about a month after she gave him the syrup, she said.

By early April, Uriel had hair covering almost all his body except for the abdomen and parts of his hands and feet.

She questioned why the authorities did not recall the medicine until July, despite first concerns being reported in April.

“Had he not grown hair, we would have probably continued to give him the syrup,” Martinez said.

The Associated Press spoke to at least two other families in southern Spain who were to take legal action.

Spanish Minister of Health Maria Luisa Carcedo on Wednesday said that all mislabeled batches had been removed from the market.

Although some of the babies are already losing the excess hair and experts have said all of it should fall out eventually, some families also were warned of possible long-term side effects.

The Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Products has said that minoxidil’s ability to widen blood vessels could affect the children’s hearts, kidneys and livers.