| Wani Roslan |
THE Ministry of Health (MoH) alerted the public to four types of health products tested by the Pharmacy Section, Department of Scientific Services of MoH and found to be adulterated with undeclared, potent western medicines.
The health products are Jamu Serbuk Tawon found to contain Acetaminophen and Diclofenac; Extra Binahong Kapsul 500mg found to contain Acetaminophen and Phenylbutazone; Bitongtong Capsule found to contain Dexamethasone and Betamethasone, and Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum Blood Bo 6800mg (Blue Tablet) found to contain Sildenafil.
The adulterants found in these products can cause adverse effects that are potentially hazardous to the people using them.
Acetaminophen or Paracetamol 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.
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.
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.
Unsupervised long-term consumption of potent corticosteroids such as Dexamethasone and Betamethasone 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 may suffer from withdrawal symptoms which include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, fever, low blood sugar, low blood pressure and dehydration.
Sildenafil are drugs 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, etc.) are reminded that it is an offence under the Poisons Act 1956 to sell any product containing any substance controlled under the said Act.
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 on the market in this country.
For information and communication, the public can contact the Compliance and Licensing Section at 2393298 ext 208; send an e-mail to [email protected] or go directly to First Floor, Compliance and Licensing Section, Department of Pharmaceutical Services’ Building, Kampong Madaras, Mukim Gadong ‘A’; or call the Darussalam Line 123.