Medsafe recently issued a cautionary advisory concerning two skincare products designed to alleviate children’s eczema, as they were discovered to contain a potent steroid. The regulatory authority revealed that both the NaturaCoco Moisturising Cream and Dok Apo Moisturiser Soothing Cream contained fluocinonide, a steroid typically available only through prescription due to its potential side effects and impact on users’ health.

In a notice released yesterday, Medsafe emphatically advised against the use of these products, urging individuals who had purchased them to refrain from their usage. These items, distributed by NaturaCoco New Zealand, a retailer based in Hamilton, were marketed as “kid friendly” and suitable for all age groups. Numerous parents shared testimonials on the company’s social media platforms, attesting to their use in treating their children’s eczema.

However, two weeks prior to the advisory, the retailer announced a suspension of sales pending an investigation by Medsafe. Subsequent laboratory examinations confirmed the presence of 0.01 per cent fluocinonide in the moisturising cream and 0.008 per cent in the soothing cream. Medsafe stressed that fluocinonide, being a corticosteroid, should only be administered under medical supervision, with no approved products containing this substance available in New Zealand. Notably, the NaturaCoco product labels failed to disclose the inclusion of fluocinonide.

Taking immediate action, Medsafe confiscated the NaturaCoco products and intervened to halt their distribution. Consumers who had purchased these creams were strongly advised to either discard them or return them to a pharmacy. Additionally, they were encouraged to consult a general practitioner to ensure they hadn’t experienced any adverse reactions, particularly if the creams had been used extensively or on broken skin, or in the case of children.

Moreover, Medsafe clarified that individuals or entities importing these products for personal use or resale lacked authorization to distribute them as medicinal products in New Zealand. Meanwhile, NaturaCoco, acknowledging the situation on their website, announced the cessation of sales and distribution of these products in New Zealand, pledging full cooperation with Medsafe for their recall. Furthermore, the company offered refunds to affected customers, expressing profound regret over the incident and citing personal experience with their own child’s skin issues as the impetus behind their venture into importing the cream for the New Zealand market.