Materia Medica Malaysiana

December 25, 2006

Ministry seeks own drug test centre

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:40 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry wants to have its own centre for drug tests.
“The ministry has to deal with a large number of end users of drug substance in food and medication.
“Having our own centre will enable us to carry out a bigger volume of tests in the shortest time possible,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.
Currently, the ministry sends food and medication specimens to the Chemistry Department of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry for drug analysis.
More difficult specimens – that are either hard to test or seldom tested – are sent to the Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) dope control centre in Penang, the only accredited doping control centre in the country.
The ministry has to usually wait for two weeks before test results are returned, Dr Chua said.
The long-waiting period is due to the high volume of drugs these centres have to test since other ministries also send samples there.
He said he had directed his officers to look into setting up a drug-testing laboratory similar to the centre at USM.
He said with its own centre the ministry could reduce the testing time to three or four days and enforcement work could be more focused and be expedited.
Asked if the role of the Chemistry Department could be expanded rather then have a new centre altogether, Dr Chua said the department was not under his ministry’s jurisdiction.
“We want our own laboratory since food safety is becoming a very important issue. When we want to import or export food, we have to certify its safety.”

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