Phoenix Facility goes to the canines for COVID-19

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously warned of hand sanitizer brands that contain the toxic ingredient methanol. Last week the FDA announced that all alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico will be imported nationwide due to concerns about methanol contamination.

As part of the import alert, hand sanitisers from Mexico are subjected to more stringent FDA testing and agency staff can withhold the shipments.

Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a toxic substance that damages the skin and, according to the FDA, “is not an acceptable component of hand sanitizer or other drugs”. The agency also lists other side effects including blindness, nausea, headache, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system, and even death.

The FDA has issued 14 warning letters since July 2020 for the distribution of hand sanitizer containing methanol, inappropriate ethanol content, misleading claims and improper manufacturing processes. However, this is the first time the FDA has issued a nationwide import alert for a category of drugs. The reason for this extra caution is because hand sanitizers from Mexico were mistakenly labeled ethanol – also known as ethyl alcohol – but tested positive for methanol. The FDA found that 84% of Mexico’s hand sanitizers imported from Mexico through April 2020 did not meet the agency’s regulations. More than half of the samples analyzed contained toxic ingredients, including methanol and 1-propanol.

“Consumer use of hand sanitizer has increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic, especially when soap and water are inaccessible and the availability of poor quality products with dangerous and unacceptable ingredients is not tolerated,” said Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D. , FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. “These measures are necessary to protect the safe supply of alcohol-based hand disinfectants.”

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