Joint operations bust illegal medical, beauty services

Azlan Othman

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has been conducting joint raids related to medical treatment, health and beauty services, the importation and sale of controlled medicines, traditional medicines, and prohibited health and cosmetic supplement products since January this year.

These integrated operations were carried out with the assistance and cooperation of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), the Royal Customs and Excise Department (RCED) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) and the District Office Licensing and Enforcement Division at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA).

“The raids were made following complaints and information received regarding treatment services believed to be performed by individuals without specialised qualifications and training, as well as conducting business or clinical services without permission, registration, business license and product permits from local authorities, in addition to importing, selling and using controlled drugs, traditional medicines and prohibited health and cosmetic supplement products,” said the MoH in a statement.

Several local and foreign individuals were detained during the raids. Medicinal products, as well as health and cosmetic products, along with therapeutic equipment such as syringes, were also seized.

Products containing medication which require a doctor’s prescription, together with unauthorised and prohibited cosmetic products, were also found during the operations.

Following these findings, all of the therapeutic equipment, medications, health products and cosmetics were confiscated as evidence.

Among the medical, health and beauty treatment services found to be in violation of medical and health laws and regulations currently in force are the treatment or modification of body parts with fillers such as breast modifications, facial modifications, nose, chin and lip modifications, hip modifications, and female and male genital modifications.

Others involve facial treatments which use clinical methods that can pose risk and harm such as the PRP Vampire Facial, microneedling and embroidery, and thread lifting. The treatments also include the use of injections or intravenous (IV) drips to administer drugs, supplements and cosmetics in therapies for whitening, slimming, Botox, Vitamin C, hormones and steroids.

In addition, the treatments also involve ‘pill’ products whether containing medicinal products or supplements for health or beauty treatment purposes, such as slimming pills, whitening pills, hormone pills, steroid pills and Viagra, as well as the administration of injections that include IV drips.

Among the side-effects, risks and complications of these treatments are infections, dangerous infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, sepsis, bleeding, constipation, swelling and inflammation, allergies to the products used, allergies that can harm health and life, physical defects, damage to internal organs, and effects on the functioning of internal organs such as the kidneys, liver, heart, nerves, lungs and blood vessels.

Other side-effects include lack of effectiveness during disease screening, effects on newborns during pregnancy, effects on newborns during breastfeeding, effects on fertility, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, stroke, aggravated chronic diseases, cancer, and death.