Research by NRC and Zembla shows that the largest paracetamol producer in the world sells pills contaminated with a carcinogenic substance. According to the Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB), the safety of paracetamol is not an issue. The Healthcare and Youth Inspectorate indicated that there was no need to take action.
The House of Representatives and the Minister clearly think differently. Member of Parliament Fleur Agema (PVV) calls the initial refusal to investigate ‘unacceptable’. Agema: “There are people who take large amounts of paracetamol and since this is a self-care agent, there is no insight into it. The paracetamol with carcinogenic substance in it must be removed from the shelves and destroyed.”
Maarten Hijink (SP) says: “I also want the minister to instruct the Inspectorate to investigate the paracetamol. That is only due to the precautionary principle.”
“Doing nothing is not an option,” says Corinne Ellemeet of GroenLinks. PvdA MP Lilianne Ploumen agrees with her.
The coalition also wants research
Not only the opposition, but also coalition partner CDA demands action from the Inspectorate, says MP Joba van den Berg: “I am surprised that no body takes action and demands clarification from the minister. It cannot be the case that no one does anything.”
The Inspectorate, which is part of the Ministry of Health, will now have to investigate the contaminated pills. The Inspectorate tells RTL Nieuws that it will determine how to handle the investigation in consultation with the MEB.
The largest government party, VVD, also thinks that the Inspectorate should conduct an investigation and wants clarity about which standards are to be applied quickly.
The two European supervisors estimate the risks of the pollutant differently. Food watchdog ESFA is stricter than medicine watchdog EMA.
That is not possible, according to VVD MP Hayke Veldman: “Substances that do not belong in medicines, that is in any case a bad thing. At the same time, a clear standard is necessary and there is not yet one. If standards are exceeded, intervention is inevitable. “