Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 30, 2006

Tighter control on medicines

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:08 am

Star: PUTRAJAYA: Anyone caught with unregistered medicines and health supplement products in future may face tougher penalties under amendments to a key legislation.
Health Ministry’s pharmaceutical services division director Datuk Che Mohd Zin Che Awang said these products would include traditional medicine and over-the-counter items.
“This is because all traditional medicine and over-the-counter items must now be registered by the Drug Control Authority. Any product, even traditional medicine, which is unregistered, is illegal.
“Previously, we had to prove that anyone caught with the illegal products had the intention to sell them before we could charge the individual with a more serious offence under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984,” he said.
“But now, under the proposed amendments, we can charge them with possession – regardless of whether the items are for sale or not, and it will carry a heavier penalty.”
Anyone convicted can face a fine of up to RM35,000 for the first offence and RM50,000 for the subsequent offence or a five-year jail term.
For companies, the fine can go up to between RM50,000 and RM100,000.
The introduction of Meditag holograms for all registered medicines and health supplement products last year had made it easier for enforcement officers to identify and confiscate illegal products, he said.
For the first 10 months of this year, 22,000 items without the Meditag holograms were seized.
“We should see a drop in these illegal products by the end of the year, he said.
The ministry is drafting amendments to the Poisons Act to provide stiffer punishment for clinics that illegally “divert” certain types of psychotropic drugs such as buprenorphine (used for drug substitution therapy), midazolam (used to treat insomnia) and pseudoepherine tablets (precursors contained in cold remedies)
At present, the penalty is a RM5,000 fine.
The Poisons Act covers both products and raw materials containing scheduled or controlled substances.
Che Mohd Zin said if a substance was an unregistered 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 1984.

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