Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 29, 2006

Tougher penalties on errant clinics

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:32 am

Star: PUTRAJAYA: Tougher penalties are in store for clinics that illegally sell certain types of psychotropic drugs.
The Health Ministry is currently drafting amendments to the Poisons Act to provide stiffer punishment.
“The draft is in the final stage,” said the ministry’s pharmaceutical services division director Datuk Che Mohd Zin Che Awang.
At present, the penalty is a RM5,000 fine.
Psychotropic substances affect mental activity and behaviour and are used in drug substitution therapy (DST), a treatment many private clinics provide.
The Act covers substances that are not required to be registered under the Drug Control Authority.
Che Mohd Zin said if a substance was a registered item, clinic owners found selling it could be jailed up to three years or fined up to RM25,000 or both for the first offence, under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations.
“For a subsequent offence, the penalty is a RM50,000 fine or five years’ jail, or both,” he said.
“If the item is not one that requires registration, the clinics can be charged under the Poisons Act.”
Che Mohd Zin said, last year, the ministry inspected 87 private medical clinics that supplied psychotropic tablets.
At least 31 clinics had not followed treatment protocol in supplying the tablets, he said.
Che Mohd Zin added that his department closely monitored and analysed any trend of abuse, especially of buprenorphine and midazolam (used to treat insomnia) and pseudoepherine tablets (precursors contained in cold remedies).
Three pharmacies and two private clinics were investigated for a high volume purchase of pseudoepherine tablets, he told The Star, when commenting on the findings in the department’s annual report for last year.
The annual report stated that 74 products were recalled from the market last year. Three, which were traditional medicine, were issued orders for product recalls within 24 hours.
Seventy-one other products, comprising 12 prescription drugs, three non-prescription drugs and 56 traditional medicines, were to be recalled within 30 days, the report said.

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