The Ministry of Health (MoH) announced that two health products tested by the Laboratory of Pharmacy Section, Department of Scientific Services, MoH, have been found to be adulterated with undeclared, potent Western medicine.
Japan Tengsu Tablets, manufactured by Shiga Pharmaceutical Ltd, Japan, was found to contain Sildenafil; while Artlax Go Out Capsules, distributed by Erat Kasih Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, was found to contain Chlorpheniramine, Prednisolone, Dexamethasone and Betamethasone.
The adulterant found in these product can cause adverse effects potentially hazardous to users.
Dizziness, lowering of blood pressure, irregular hearbeat, 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, Betamethasone and Prednisolone can cause increase blood glucose levels leading 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.
Consumers who have taken high doses of steroids over a prolonged period may suffer from withdrawal symptoms that 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 the 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.
The public who have purchased or used these products is advised to discontinue use immediately. They should also consult a medical practitioner if they feel unwell or experience undesirable reactions as a result of using them.
The public involved in the retail of these products (including online retail such as through Facebook, etc) is reminded that it is an offence under the Poisons Act 1956 to sell products containing any substance controlled under the said Act.
The penalty for such an offence upon conviction, is a BND8,000 fine 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, 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 in reporting to the Compliance and Licensing Section if any of these products are still found on the market.
For information and communication, contact the Compliance and Licensing Section at 2393298 (ext 208), e-mail [email protected]; go directly to 1st Floor, Compliance and Licensing Section, Department of Pharmaceutical Services’ Building at Kampong Madaras, Mukim Gadong A; or call Darussalam hotline 123.