(Updates with details from company statement)
LONDON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - British consumer products group Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) said on Friday it was recalling all its over-the-counter painkiller Nurofen Plus in the UK after five packs were found to contain an anti-psychotic drug or an epilepsy medicine.
The company said police were investigating as it was believed someone had deliberately tampered with the packs.
“Sabotage is suspected and we are working with the police on a formal investigation to find the person or persons responsible,” the company said in a statement.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a safety alert saying some Nurofen Plus packs had been found to have 50 mg tablets of AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) schizophrenia drug Seroquel XL in them, while others contained 100 mg capsules of Pfizer’s (PFE.N) epilepsy drug Neurontin.
Reckitt Benckiser said Seroquel so far had been found in four packs of Nurofen Plus at four different pharmacies in London, while Neurontin had been discovered in one pack of Nurofen Plus at a pharmacy in Northern Ireland.
As well as the recall, the company said it had also halted the distribution of Nurofen Plus in the UK.
Seroquel XL is a prescription-only drug used to treat serious psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and bipolar disease, while Pfizer’s Neurontin is an anticonvulsant prescribed for patients with epilepsy and severe migraine.
Nurofen Plus, manufactured in Nottingham, central England, is a popular painkiller containing codeine that needs no prescription.
The MHRA first issued a safety alert on Thursday after receiving reports of Seroquel XL tablets in three different batches of Nurofen Plus. [ID:nL5E7JP33G]
Some patients reported having mistakenly taken the Seroquel, it said. Medical experts said a single dose of Seroquel XL was unlikely to cause major problems for a healthy adult.
In Friday’s recall alert, Ian Holloway from the MHRA’s Defective Medicines Report Centre (DMRC) said people should check to see if they have any packets of Nurofen Plus.
“If you do, return them to your nearest pharmacy,” he said. (Reporting by Kate Kelland and Tim Castle; editing by Carol Bishopric)