THE Ministry of Health (MoH) alerted the public to five types of health products tested by the Pharmacy Section, Department of Scientific Services, MoH and found to be adulterated with undeclared, potent western medicines.
The affected health products are Ginseng Kianpi Pil found to contain Dexamethasone and Cyproheptadine; Urat Saraf Kapsul, manufactured by Produk Industri Kampung, Malaysia, found to contain Dexamethasone and Diclofenac; Montalin Jamu Pegal Linu dan Asam Urat Kapsul, manufactured by PJ.Air Madu, Indonesia, found to contain Cyproheptadine; Jamu Caissar Raja Obat Kuat Kapsul, manufactured by PJ.Sinar Bulan, Indonesia, found to contain Sildenafil; and Hammer of Thor 850mg Capsule, made in Italy, found to contain Sildenafil.
The adulterants found in these products can cause adverse effects that are potentially hazardous to the people using them.
Unsupervised long-term consumption of potent corticosteroids such as Dexamethasone can cause increase blood glucose levels leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cataract, muscular and bone disorders, and an increased risk of infections.
Long term use of corticosteroids can also lead to Cushing’s syndrome which is characterised by a round face or ‘moon face’, and upper body obesity with thin limbs. Consumers who have taken high doses of steroids over a prolonged period of time may suffer from withdrawal symptoms which include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, fever, low blood sugar, low blood pressure and dehydration.
Cyproheptadineis antihistamines is used in the treatment of allergies symptoms. If taken without supervision it can cause drowsiness, dizziness, muscle weakness, hypotension, blurred vision, dry mouth, depression, arrhythmias, increase in appetite and weight gain.
Diclofenac is a pain-relief medicine that, if taken without supervision, may result in peptic ulceration, gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, blurred vision, oedema, jaundice and kidney failure.
Sildenafil is a drug used to treat male impotency and can only be prescribed by a qualified doctor or physician. Among their side effects include nausea, vomiting, flushing and dizziness. In severe cases, they can also result in abnormal increase in heart rate, sudden loss of hearing and seizures.
The MoH has not issued any approval for the importation for the sale of these products.
Following these findings, the products are not allowed to be imported and sold in Brunei Darussalam.
Members of the public who have purchased or used these products are advised to stop using them immediately. They should also consult a medical practitioner if they feel unwell or experience any undesirable reactions as a result of using them.
Members of the public involved in the retail of these products (including online retail such as through Facebook) are reminded that it is an offence under the Poisons Act 1956 to sell any product containing any substance controlled under the said Act and the penalty for such an offence upon conviction, is a fine of BND8,000 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, then such person shall be guilty of an offence which carries a penalty of a fine of BND16,000 and 12 months’ imprisonment.
The MoH called upon the public for their cooperation to report to the Compliance and Licensing Section if any of these products are still found in the market in the country.
For information and communication, the public can contact the Compliance and Licensing Section at 2393298 extension 208; send an e-mail to [email protected]; visit 1st Floor, Compliance and Licensing Section, Department of Pharmaceutical Services’ Building, Kampong Madaras, Mukim Gadong ‘A’; or call the Darussalam line 123. – Ministry of Health