| Danial Norjidi |
THE Ministry of Health (MoH) alerted the public to eight types of health products tested by the Pharmacy Section, Department of Scientific Services, MoH and found to be adulterated with undeclared, potent western medicines.
According to an MoH press release, the health products are Ricalinu Kapsul, found adulterated with Tramadol and manufactured by IP Farma; Samulin Kapsul found adulterated with Acetaminophen and manufactured by Sinar Jaya Makmur, Indonesia; Godong Ijo Kapsul found adulterated with Acetaminophen and Dexamethasone, and manufactured by PJ Air Madu, Indonesia; Samyun Wan Capsule found adulterated with Cyproheptadine and Dexamethasone, and with no manufacturer stated; Assalam Asam Urat & Flu Tulang Kapsul found adulterated with Acetaminophen and manufactured by PJ Asli Sari Alam-Jabar, Indonesia; Lida Slimming Capsule 500mg found adulterated with Sibutramine and manufactured by PT Sinar Maju Makmur, Indonesia; Super X 500mg Kapsul found adulterated with Sildenafil and Acetaminophen, and manufactured by PJ Husodo Jaya, Indonesia; and Urat Kuda Kapsul found adulterated with Acetaminophen and manufactured by PJ Kuda Mas, Indonesia.
The adulterants found in these products can cause adverse effects potentially hazardous to the people using them.
Tramadol is used in management of acute pain. Its consumption without supervision can cause malaise, diarrhea, flatulence, gastric, anorexia, anxiety, difficulty in breathing, heart palpitations and syncope.
Acetaminophen or Paraceta-mol is a medicine that can be used for pain-relief and to reduce fever. Excessive Acetaminophen or Paracetamol use may lead to liver damage, kidney failure, coma and can result in death.
Unsupervised long-term con-sumption of potent corticoste-roids such as Dexamethasone can cause increased blood glucose levels leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, muscular and bone disorders, and an increased risk of infections.
Long-term use of corticoste-roids 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 may suffer from withdrawal symptoms which include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, fever, low blood sugar, low blood pressure and dehydration.
Cyproheptadine is an antihistamine 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.
Sibutramine is a body slimming agent that is no longer recommended for its use in obesity treatment because its effects can be detrimental to the heart and the liver.
Intake of sibutramine can also cause serious adverse effects such as high blood pressure, uncertain heartbeat and difficulty sleeping; and with regards to the worst cases, it can cause damage to the kidneys and liver.
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 highlighted that it 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.
The press release noted that members of the public involved in the retail of these products (including online retail) 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 for public cooperation to report to the Compliance and Licensing Section if any of these products are still found on the market in this country.
For information, contact the Compliance and Licensing Section at 2393298 ext 208; send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; visit 1st Floor, Compliance and Licensing Section, Department of Pharmaceutical Services’ Building, Kampong Madaras, Mukim Gadong ‘A’; or call Darussalam line 123.