Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blocking illegal medicine a headache for Malaysia's health ministry, Others news, Health News, AsiaOne YourHealth

 KUALA LUMPUR - The booming online pharmaceutical industry, and the ease of having these items delivered to the buyer's doorstep, is posing a major challenge to the Health Ministry's efforts to block illegal medicine.
These online transactions were "almost invisible" and their origins difficult to trace, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
He added that the Customs Depart­ment's policy of not screening packages valued below RM500 made it even easier for unregistered and illegal medication to enter the country through online purchases.

"The shipments brought in by companies in bulk are screened, but the problem is with individual purchases sent by post.
"If the value is less than RM500, the Customs Department's policy is not to screen the package as the volume of these packages is too high. But for us, this makes a big difference," he said yesterday.
Dr Subramaniam said the ministry raised this concern to the Customs Department over a year ago.
"People are also able to buy online the medication which they would otherwise need a prescription for.
"This not only puts patients at risk. It is also against the law.
"We have asked the Customs Department to screen all packages and they are trying to do it but I think it is quite expensive to put such a system in place.
"I hope they will be able to do it as soon as possible," he said after opening the training conference on access to safe medicines here.
Earlier in his speech, Dr Subra­maniam said the ministry had introduced various efforts to protect Malaysians from counterfeit and unregistered medicine, such as introducing the Meditag security hologram on registered medication and enforcement activities.
Last year, he said 33,704 unregis­tered products worth RM43.22mil were seized by the ministry.

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