The Ministry of Health (MoH) found two health products tested by its Laboratory of Pharmacy Section of the Department of Scientific Services to be adulterated with undeclared, potent western medicine, said the ministry in a statement yesterday.
The first product is Urinary Pain Relief Tablets manufactured by Tong Jum Chew Pte Ltd in Singapore found adulterated with dexamethasone, betamethasone and chlorpheniramine.
The second product is Sislin 10 Krasne Capsules with no named manufacturer found adulterated with sibutramine.
The adulterant found in these products can cause adverse effects that are potentially hazardous to users.
Dizziness, lowering of blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, confusion, depression and convulsions are among the adverse effects that could occur from the unsupervised consumption of chlorpheniramine.
Unsupervised long-term consumption of potent corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone and betamethasone can cause increase in 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 a high dosage of steroids over a prolonged period may suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, muscle and joint pain, fever, low blood sugar, low blood pressure and dehydration.
Sibutramine is a body slimming agent that is no longer recommended for use in obesity treatment because its effects can be detrimental to the heart and liver.
Taking sibutramine can also cause serious adverse effects such as high blood pressure, uncertain heartbeat and difficulty in sleeping. In the worst scenario, it can cause damage to the kidneys and liver.
The MoH has not issued any approval for the importation of these products. Following these findings, the products are now banned in the country.
The public with these products is advised to stop taking them immediately. They should consult a medical practitioner if they feel unwell or experience any undesirable reactions.
Those involved in the retail of these products – including online retail through social media – are reminded that it is an offence under the Poisons Act 1956 to sell products containing controlled substance and the penalty is a BND8,000 fine or six months’ imprisonment.
A person who commits an act that amounts to negligence, such as endangering human life, will be found guilty of an offence carrying a penalty of a BND16,000 fine and 12 months’ imprisonment.
The MoH called on the public to report to the Compliance and Licensing Section if these products are found on the market.
For information, contact the section at 2393298 (ext 208); send an e-mail to [email protected]; visit 1st Floor of the Department of Pharmaceutical Services’ Building, Kampong Madaras, Mukim Gadong ‘A’; or call Darussalam line at 123.