Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ministry: Three herbal products illegal


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KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has launched an investigation into the sale of three traditional herbal products here, following reports of a death and two people becoming ill in Singapore. Health director-general Datuk Dr Hasan
Abdul Rahman said the ministry would work with its Singaporean counterpart to determine the health effects of the drugs. He said the products — Flutulang, Kapsul Gaut (Asam Urat) and True ProLife Vegrow — were not registered with the ministry.
“These products are illegal, and action can be taken against anyone found selling or distributing them in the country.
“Consumers who have bought these medicines should stop taking them immediately and report to the ministry,” he said.
The Singapore Health Sciences Authority (HSA) issued an alert on Thursday after a woman was reported dead and two others were taken ill after taking the herbal remedies.
They were all in their 50s and 70s.
In a statement, the HSA said the products contained undisclosed ingredients of Western origin, which were not stated on their labels.
A check by the New Straits Times found that Flutulang was mostly sold in Indonesia, while Kapsul Gaut and True Prolife Vegrow could be obtained from several locally based online retailers.
  Malaysian Community Pharmacists' Association president Wong Sie Sing advised the public to seek professional advice before buying medical products or health supplements.   
"There are more than  10,000 registered pharmacies in Malaysia with an additional 1,000 being developed each year. The public should opt for these pharmacies instead of unlicensed drugstores," he said.
  Wong said it was not the first time such cases had occurred, especially as a result of using imitation health remedies.
  "These imitation products sold by unscrupulous agents contain harmful ingredients that may lead to health problems or even death.
  "Sometimes, these products are  brought in by those pretending to be tourists."
  Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society president Datuk Nancy Ho said it was dangerous to buy products not approved by the ministry.
  "Always check  the product's registration number and always buy products from licensed premises.
  "Such fatalities may be avoided if the public are more aware and concerned," she said, adding that the government had made it compulsory for herbal and traditional products to be registered before being sold to the public. Additional reporting by Elvina Fernandez


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