Materia Medica Malaysiana

August 3, 2007

Adulterated Medicines Said To Involve Mostly Herbal Products

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:47 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 (Bernama) — The problem of adulterated medicines in Malaysia is now more apparent in herbal products, according to international pharmaceutical company Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals.
Its corporate affairs director for Malaysia and Singapore, Narinder Kaur, said the adulterated medicines — a condition where the product contains active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) — were commonly found in herbal products and were now more widespread compared to copycat drugs previously.
“Our investigation in the past several years has found that the problem is moving from copycat medicines to adulteration, which is very common in herbal products.
“We see a lot of adulterated medicines now. The products may be approved by the health authorities but are later laced with API,” she told reporters at the Global Symposium on Counterfeit Medicines, here today.
She said adulterated drugs were sold under many brands in the market, and mostly by peddlers.
She said the factors that contributed to increased popularity of adulterated medicines in the markets included the confidence of the people on herbal products.
“It could be because people have high regard for traditional medicine because they are made from natural ingredients and therefore they think that anything natural is safe,” she said.
Other factors that caused consumers to fall victim to fake drugs were gullibility and embarrassment of their health status.
Citing erectile dysfunction as an example, she said the embarrassment factor had also caused patients to resort to counterfeit medicines for solutions instead of seeking help from medical professionals.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry’s Pharmacy Enforcement Division Deputy Director Yogeswary Markandoo said the people were unaware of the grave danger fake medicines posed to their lives.
However, she said, the problems of counterfeit medicines in Malaysia was not serious due to the constant checks conducted by the government through its various enforcement agencies.
“We are also in a continuous awareness programme to educate the public to only buy medicines from legal and authorised pharmacies and clinics. Do not buy from peddlers, over the Internet or through mail order,” she added.

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