MoH warns against dodgy medical treatments

Azlan Othman

Medical and health treatments usually require specific and specialised knowledge, skills, training and qualifications in medicine and health, said the Ministry of Health (MoH) in
a statement.

“If handled randomly and without clinical knowledge, it can bring side-effects and harm, as well as danger and complications to the health and life of the client receiving the treatment, especially when there is no monitoring of treatment and the use of these products,” the MoH said further.

In Brunei Darussalam, all medical and health treatments – including beauty treatments which use clinical methods and medical devices such as syringes, needles and intravenous (IV) drips – and treatments which use medicinal products, are restricted to registered medical practitioners, as stipulated under the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act.

The importation, sale and supply of drug products is under the control of the Poisons Act, Chapter 114, while the Medicines Order, 2007 regulates the importation, registration, promotion of advertisements, clinical trials, transportation, manufacturing, storage, dispensing and sale of pharmaceutical products and cosmetic products.

No person shall ‘administer’ (except for themself) any product of the drug, unless he is the practitioner or a person acting in accordance with the instructions of the practitioner concerned.

Therefore, individuals not registered as medical officers and without a valid Poison License are not allowed to use or sell medicines, as provided under the Medicines Order, 2007.

Individuals who carry out any health, beauty and services medical and/or use cosmetic products or supplement products, such as treatment methods, must obtain a business license, permission and approval in advance from the MoH, and also from the authorities in the country.

Members of the public who carry out services without permission and approval from the authorities can be convicted under the laws in the country.

Importation of medicinal products for commercial purposes under the control of the Department of Pharmaceutical Services (DPS) at the MoH must be declared through Brunei Darussalam National Single Window (BDNSW), which requires the endorsement of the DPS before being allowed to enter Brunei Darussalam, while importation for personal use must be referred to the DPS to be endorsed/authorised.

The importation, supply, sale and use of cosmetic products, as well as supplements and treatment equipment, must first obtain permission and approval before the products and equipment are imported, supplied and sold in Brunei.

For traditional products and health supplements, importers, manufacturers and sellers must submit the application, along with the documents required to obtain permission from the DPS before the product is imported, supplied or sold in Brunei.

Importers, manufacturers and distributors must comply with the guidelines for the importation and sale of traditional medicinal products and health supplements such as labels or advertisements of such products that do not have unauthorised claims/indications, as set out under Section 53 (1) of the Medicines Order, 2007.

Subsequently, cosmetic products are regulated under the Medicines (Cosmetic Products) Order, 2007. Under this regulation, any importation and sale of cosmetic products must first obtain a cosmetic product Notification Letter, before the products are imported and sold in Brunei.

The MoH reminded the public that medicinal products that require a doctor’s prescription are under the control of the Poisons Act, 1956, and the Drug Order, 2007.

The supply or sale of drug products and scheduled products is only allowed to individuals with Poison Licenses, and is not allowed to be supplied or sold by individuals who do not have a license, and in stores such as cube stores.

Offenders can be compounded under the Poisons Act, 1956 and Medicines Order, 2007.

Individuals as well as the owner or guardian of the cube must ensure that there is no form of advertisement for products sold or either placed in the cube such as leaflets, brochures and testimonials; or through social media belonging to the cube which claim to prevent, control and treat disease.

Examples of the prohibited diseases are heart disease, kidney disease, asthma, cancer, seizures, high blood pressure, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS.

The MoH advised the public to be vigilant when seeking medical, health, and beauty treatments, especially from those providing clinical treatment methods and those giving testimonials for the treatment of any disease.

The public is also advised not to be easily influenced into buying dubious health supplement products and cosmetics with excessive advertisements and promotions on social media sites. Members of the public must ensure that the treatment services and products are authorised and approved by the authorities in the country.

For information on the control, importation and sale of medicinal products, traditional medicines and health supplement products and cosmetic products, contact the Complaints and Licensing Division at the Ministry of Health’s Department of Pharmaceutical Services, Simpang 433, Rimba Highway, Kampong Madaras, Mukim Gadong ‘A’, or call 2393298 ext 208.

The public can also contact the Product Regulatory Division at the Department of Pharmaceutical Services at the same address, or call 2393298 ext 225.