| Lyna Mohamad |
FOUR health products tested by the Pharmacy Section, Department of Scientific Services, Ministry of Health (MoH) have been found to be adulterated with undeclared, potent Western medicine.
The ministry through its press release announced that the affected health products are Jamu Walisongo manufactured by PJ Terang Abadi Indonesia, Sakit Gigi & Gusi Cocok untuk Pria & Wanita manufactured by CV Makmur Jaya Indonesia, Jamu Ramuan Istimewa Herbalinu untuk Pria dan Wanita Kapsul manufactured by PJ Sinar Mas, Indonesia and Jamu Bi-eM Amrat Nyeri Tulang & Pengapuran Kapsul manufactured by Perusahaan Jamu Alam Papua, Indonesia.
Jamu Walisongo has been found to be adulterated with acetaminophen, dexamethasone, diclofenac while the Sakit Gigi & Gusi Cocok Untuk Pria & Wanita is adulterated with dexamethasone, betamethasone and Jamu Ramuan Istimewa Herbalinu Untuk Pria Dan Wanita Kapsul adulterated with acetaminophen. Jamu Bi-eM Amrat Nyeri Tulang & Pengapuran Kapsul has been found to be adulterated with phenylbutazone and phenolphthalein.
The ministry further highlighted that the adulterants found in these products can cause adverse effects that are potentially hazardous to the people consuming them.
Acetaminophen or paracetamol is a medicine that can be used for pain relief and to reduce fever, however, excessive use may lead to liver damage, kidney failure, coma and could result in death.
Unsupervised long-term consumption of potent corticosteroids such as Dexamethasone and Betamethasone, meanwhile, can cause increased blood glucose levels and this leads to diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, 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.
Fatigue, muscle and joint pain, fever, low blood sugar, low blood pressure and dehydration, are the withdrawal symptoms that consumers who have taken high doses of steroids over a prolonged period of time may suffer from.
Diclofenac is another 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.
Phenylbutazone may result in peptic ulceration, gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, blurred vision, oedema, jaundice and kidney failure. Phenylbutazone is often associated with severe side-effects such as serious blood disorders.
Prolonged consumption or overdose of phenolphthalein can result in diarrhoea with excessive loss of water and electrolytes.
The possibility of developing an atonic non-functioning colon and cardiac and respiratory distress, renal damage and hypersensitivity reactions have also been reported with the use of this drug.
MoH has not issued any approval for the importation for the sale of these products and following these findings, the products are not allowed to be imported and sold in the country.
Members of the public who have purchased or used these products are advised to stop using them immediately and should also consult a medical practitioner if they feel unwell or experience any undesirable reactions.
Meanwhile, 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.
Upon conviction, the penalty for such an offence is a fine of BND8,000 or six months’ imprisonment and 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 ministry also called upon the public for their cooperation to report to the Compliance and Licensing Section if any of these products are still found on the market in this country.
For more information, contact the Compliance and Licensing Section at 2393298 extension 208; or e-mail [email protected]; or visit 1st Floor, Compliance and Licensing Section, Department of Pharmaceutical Services Building, Kampong Madaras, Mukim Gadong ‘A’; or call the Darussalam hotline 123.