58 products found contaminated

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE Ministry of Health (MoH) has warned the public not to consume 58 health products and traditional medicines that have been found adulterated with undeclared potent western medicine.

The health products (Table 1) were withdrawn from the market by Indonesia’s National Agency and Food, after false information was found on their labels.

In a press release, the ministry stated that most of the said products were manufactured in Indonesia, but were not registered in that country.

Samples of the four types of traditional medicines (Table II) were collected through post-marketing surveillance activities conducted by the Pharmacy Enforcement Section at retail shops and the Mail Processing Centre.

The ministry added that the said products could cause effects that are potentially harmful to individuals taking them.

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, can be taken for self-medication. However, if traditional medicine does not declare its acetaminophen/paracetamol content, a person would consume excessively which may lead to liver damage, kidney failure, coma and eventually death.

Meanwhile, bisacodyl, a stimulant laxative taken for constipation could cause abdominal cramp, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and hypokalaemia (low potassium level) upon excessive use.

Unsupervised consumption of chlorpheniramine could cause dizziness, lowering of blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, confusion, depression and convulsions.

MoH said it did not issue any approval for the importation and sale of the products, adding that the products are not allowed to be imported and sold in the country following the findings.

Members of the public who have taken the products are advised to stop taking them immediately and consult a medical practitioner if they feel unwell or experience any undesirable reactions as a result of taking the products.

It was also stated that anyone involved in the retail of these products including online retailing on Facebook, are reminded that it is an offence under the Poisons Act 1956 to sell products containing any substance controlled under the said Act.

Penalty for such an offence upon conviction is a fine of $8,000 or six months’ imprisonment. If a person commits an Act that amounts to such a degree of negligence so as to endanger or be likely to endanger human life, they shall be guilty of an offence which carries a penalty of a fine of $16,000 and 12 months’ imprisonment.

The ministry also called on the public for their cooperation to report to the Pharmacy Enforcement Section if any of the said products are found in the Brunei market.

The Brunei Times

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