In a recent development, counterfeit Colgate toothpaste containing toxic chemical diethylene glycol was found in the Central American country of Panama. The poisonous compound had caused number of deaths in the last few years. The counterfeit toothpaste was found in the stores in Panama City, David and Santiago according to Panama’s Ministry of Health.
Panama’s director of Farmacias y Drogas, Elvia Lau stated that the counterfeit toothpastes were being sold by street vendors at nominal prices than those offered on retail outlets. Cough syrup containing DEG- a colourless and odourless liquid with a sweet taste – caused acute renal failure in at least 500 people in Panama in 2006, killing 97 people, according to Ministry figures.
In the year 2008, more than 84 children in Nigeria died after consuming a teething formula product in which the compound contained DEG. Colgate-Palmolive has been plagued by counterfeiting for several years, and in 2013 was sued by a US woman who claimed using a counterfeit of one of its toothpastes damaged her health.
The judge in the case ruled that the company could not be held liable for the actions of a counterfeiter, although she was eventually awarded $95,000 in a settlement involving the importer and retailer of the fake toothpaste.