The decision to stop using imported medication from Turkey in the province's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was made after frontline staff found that the imported product had a higher risk of clogging feeding tubes, due to a higher viscosity.

The Atabay product was used in Alberta Health Services sites for approximately two months before staff reverted to the usual medication.

Last week Alberta Health Services (AHS) issued what they called a clarification about the use of the acetaminophen which was imported last winter as a response to a shortage of certain types of children's medication. According to AHS, the medication was approved for import by Health Canada.

"No patients - including infants requiring neonatal intensive care - were injured or fell ill as a result of its use."

AHS also underlined that the term “adverse reaction” does not mean patients were injured.

"In this case, adverse reactions included patients not tolerating the taste of the imported medication or the volume. Technically, the need for what might otherwise be an unnecessary procedure - replacing a feeding tube - qualifies as an adverse event. Instances, where product packaging and labeling can be misapprehended, can also qualify as an adverse event."

According to AHS, Atabay has Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification in the USA, Japan, Australia, and the European Union. Atabay is the sole manufacturer of acetaminophen in the European Union, the Middle East and North Africa.

"The additional supply of children's pain medication provided assurance, long-term, for our stock of acetaminophen in AHS facilities at a time of a global shortage and high demand," AHS concluded. 

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