Tabs on traditional drug ads

  • Nation
  • Monday, 13 Jan 2003


KUALA LUMPUR: The Information Ministry will monitor misleading advertisements on traditional drugs for slimming and specific ailments in the media, particularly those over TV and radio. 

“We are concerned about the distribution of misleading information through the media,” Deputy Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin said. 

The ministry would scrutinise such advertisements before taking action, he told reporters after opening the second national working committee meeting of the private practitioners section at the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) House here yesterday. 

NEW MOUTHPIECE: Zainuddin and Athimulam (right) holding up MMA'a official journal Medical Journal of Malaysia launched at the second national working committee meeting of the private practitioners section at the MMA House here Sunday.- Bernamapic

He also said the language used to advertise some of the drugs was crude.  

“They (the media) should not take it for granted that they can simply carry such advertisements,” he said, adding that the ministry was sceptical about the doctors used in some of the advertisements. 

Zainuddin said MMA had given an assurance that it would furnish information about such advertisements. 

MMA president Datuk Dr N. Athimulam said advertisements on traditional drugs, such as those for treating arthritis, diabetes and white vaginal discharge, should be banned. 

“The relevant ministries should check the authority and qualification of foreign doctors, who talk about traditional drugs over the radio.  

“There are many doctors from India, China and Indonesia talking about traditional medicine. Who is going to check if they're qualified or not? 

“We don’t mind having more meetings with the Health Ministry, Information Ministry and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to resolve the problem as we are worried about the safety of the people,” he added. 

Dr Athimulam also called on the Health Ministry to provide definite guidelines for supermarkets and retail outlets selling over-the-counter drugs.  

He said the ministry should ensure that non-prescription medicines carried warnings about toxicity, effects such as addictiveness, and advice on the method of use or the collateral measures. 

“Special caution must be exercised when vulnerable groups such as children, elderly people or pregnant women use self-medication,” he said, adding that public awareness should be enhanced on the potential threat of seemingly safe products. 

He said the ministry had not been actively giving information on the use of drugs appropriately and safely.  

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