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* Inhalation remedies for colds, such as Karvol a "natural oil" made up of levomenthol, thymol, chlorbutol and pine oil can be lethal for children under five

* Inhalation remedies for colds, such as Karvol a "natural oil" made up of levomenthol, thymol, chlorbutol and pine oil can be lethal for children under five. In 1989, in a survey of 1390 accidents among under fives involving medicines, 19 were of inappropriate ingestion or inhalation of Karvol. In a further 19, capsules were squirted into the child's eye (The Lancet, 6 March 1993).

* Intravenous use of solutions containing fructose and sorbitol after operations can cause a fatal allergic reaction among otherwise healthy patients, according to The Lancet (6 March 1993). Worldwide, the frequency of hereditary fructose intolerance is thought to be one in 20,000.

* Potentially dangerous hair straightening products some of which can cause blindness are routinely being sold over the counter because of weak consumer protection laws. Trading standards officers in Southwark in south London looked at 24 brands. Five contained illegally high levels of restricted chemicals; the worst, designed for children, was described as "drain cleaner".

* The Medicines Information Bill awaiting its third reading in the House of Commons has been amended to deny access to comprehensive information about drugs. Only summarized information, rather than the full data behind drug licensing decisions by the UK's Medicines Control Agency, will be published.


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