MoH bans dozen health, cosmetic products

National 3 minutes, 25 seconds


THE Ministry of Health (MoH) has banned three health products and nine cosmetic products after these were found adulterated with undeclared, prohibited substances.

The three health products are Jamu Surut Ayu and Jamu Flu Tulang Lumbung Sewu from Indonesia and Australian-made Wild Supplement Capsule.

MoH said in a press statement that the banned cosmetic products include Atika Beauty Cream Jeragat, Pond’s Age Miracle BB Anti-ageing Expert BB Cream Light Night Cream and Pati IbuPutih by JannaLawaa-Gluta Kpjic Super Whitening Serum.

The ministry said the banned health items contained lidocaine, acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, dexamethasone, sildenafil and simvastatin, which can cause adverse health effects.

Other adulterated products were Pati IbuPutih by JannaLawaa-Day Creamy Face n Body White, Pati IbuPutih by JannaLawaa-Night Creamy Face n Body White, Gorjes Beauty-Night Cream, Racikan Ling Zhi-Night Cream with Vitamin E, and Lien-Hua (Bunga Teratai) – Day Cream.

The cosmetic products were said to contain hydroquinone and mercury.

MoH said mercury and hydroquinone are prohibited under the Medicines (Cosmetic Products) Regulations 2007.

The prohibition of mercury in cosmetic products is due to its hazardous effects on human health. Exposure to it can cause skin rashes, memory loss and muscle weakness while high exposure may result in damage to the brain and kidneys. It is also found to be extremely toxic to unborn children.

Unsupervised use of hydroquinone may cause skin hypersensitivity, skin discolouration resulting in gradual darkening of the affected skin area and an increased risk of skin cancer, the statement read.

Meanwhile, lidocaine can cause adverse effects such as drowsiness, numbness, confusion, respiratory depression, hypotension and hypersensitivity while acetaminophen or paracetamol – which can be taken for self-medication – may result in liver damage, kidney failure, coma, and eventually death when taken in excess.

The adulterant dexamethasone can cause an increase in blood glucose levels leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, muscular and bone disorders and an increased risk of infections as a result of unsupervised long-term use.

Long-term use of dexamethasone can also lead to Cushing’s syndrome, which is characterised by a round face or ‘moon face’, and upper body obesity with thin limbs.

Another adulterant, sildenafil, is typically used to treat male impotency and can only be prescribed by a qualified doctor or physician. Its side effects include nausea, vomiting, flushing and dizziness. In severe cases, they can also result in an abnormal increase in heart rate, sudden loss of hearing and seizures.

Simvastatin which is one of the adulterants found is a drug that is used to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Its long-term consumption without supervision can cause headaches, dizziness, constipation, rash, sleep disturbances, depression, alter the normal liver function, myalgia and, in rare cases, it can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure.

The Pharmacy Enforcement Section found the products through post-marketing surveillance activities.

Those who have purchased or used the products were advised to stop their use immediately, and should consult a medical practitioner if they feel unwell or experience any undesirable reactions as a result of using them.

The ministry also reminded those involved in the retail of these products (including through social media platforms) that it is an offence to sell any products containing a substance controlled under the Poisons Act 1956.

The penalty for such an offence upon conviction is a fine of $8,000 or six months’ imprisonment. Furthermore, if a person commits an act that amounts to a degree of negligence that endangers or is likely to endanger human life, then such person shall be guilty of an offence that carries a $16,000 fine and 12 months jail.

It is also an offence under the Medicines (Cosmetic Products) Regulations 2007 to import and market cosmetic products in the local market without a Cosmetic Product Notification Acknowledgement Letter issued by the authority. The penalty for contravening these regulations upon conviction is a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.

The ministry is seeking help from the public to lodge a report to the Pharmacy Enforcement Section if any of the products are still in the market.

The Brunei Times