PETALING JAYA: It is not possible for paracetamol to contain the Machupo virus, says the Health Ministry in response to a viral social media message warning people not to take the white P/500 (Aeknil) tablet.
Besides, the medicine described in the message is different from the registered Aeknil tablets available in the market, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He advised the public to buy only registered drugs.
The medicine shown in the message is not registered with the ministry.
The Aeknil tablet approved by the ministry contains 500g of paracetamol as an active ingredient, has registration number MAL19911249XZ and was “for the relief of mild-to-moderate pain and to reduce fever”, he said.
The registered tablet is blue, 1.27cm round and has the word “aeknil” or “therapeutic” on it, he added.
“We advise people not to believe any news or message that has not been verified and to ensure products they use are registered, have a hologram sticker and are labelled with the registration MAL number,” he said in a statement yesterday.
The message making its rounds on social media claims that the white, shiny paracetamol P/500 tablet contains the Machupo virus, which could cause death.
Dr Noor Hisham said Machupo was categorised as one of the viruses in the Arenavirus group which can cause haemorrhagic fever and is currently found only in South America.
It can be spread through infected urine or rat faeces.
But like many other viruses, the virus cannot live in a dry environment such as in the paracetamol tablet, he said.
The ministry also has not received any alerts about the contamination of paracetamol from the authorities where these tablets are produced or from other countries, Dr Noor Hisham said.
To check if a certain product is registered, go to https://npra.moh.gov.my or contact the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency at 03-78835400.