Young creating demand for fake drugs

Young creating demand for fake drugs

PETALING JAYA - The high demand for sex stimulants and cosmetic products has resulted in a boom for cheap counterfeit supplies, said Health Ministry senior assistant director of pharmaceutical services division Mazlan Ismail.

"In Malaysia, the trend is that many young adults seek cheaper Viagra and cosmetic products such as skin whitening products, as well as dietary and slimming drugs at unregistered pharmacists," he said in his speech at the Hard Facts Media Workshop.

Mazlan said counterfeits were attractive as they are cheap but contained potentially dangerous contaminants such as arsenic, nickel, heavy metal and floor polish. He said in 2010, the ministry had seized RM16 million (S$6.4 million) in unregistered, counterfeit and adulterated drugs and last year it seized RM22.5 million of these drugs.

Mazlan warned consumers about buying medication online as many had fallen victims to illegal pharmacies.

"Regardless of the claims they put on their website, buyers need to be aware of the dangers which they are exposing themselves and their health by purchasing these products online," he said.

In Malaysia, counterfeit medicines are legally categorised as unregistered medicines and cases are being investigated and charged as unregistered products under the Sales of Drug Act, said Mazlan.

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