Holograms prove effective

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 07 Sep 2005

SUBANG JAYA: The hologram label on health and medicinal products has significantly reduced the volume of unregistered drugs available to consumers. 

However, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said, the ministry would continue with its enforcement activities even though the hologram system was effective in deterring people from bringing unregistered drugs into the market. 

“Last year, we seized RM27mil worth of unregistered drugs, a sharp increase compared with 2003, when only RM6.5mil worth of products were confiscated. 

“I haven't got the exact figures yet for this year, but they are significantly lower,” he said after launching the National Regulatory Conference at the Sheraton Hotel here yesterday. 

The hologram label, which cost 5.6 sen each, was introduced on May 1 to combat the sale of unregistered drugs. 

Dr Chua said the ministry would re-evaluate the effectiveness of the hologram system every one or two years to resolve any problems that might arise.  

Pharmaceutical Services Division director Datuk Che Mohd Zin Che Awang said it was difficult for counterfeiters to copy the hologram label as it had special security features, some of which could only be seen under a microscope. 

“There was a high number of illegal and unregistered health products last year as it was easy to counterfeit the registration numbers,” he said. 

In his speech earlier, Dr Chua said the Drug Control Authority had registered 101,423 products up to July, of which 13,803 were traditional medicines, 10,206 prescription medicines, 7,604 over-the-counter medicines and 69,810 cosmetic products.  

Of these, 29.7% were locally manufactured while the rest were imported. 

He said the authority had also rejected 17,429 products, cancelled or withdrawn 7,477 and suspended 353. 

Later, Dr Chua said the “casemix” system would be implemented in 25 of the 124 public hospitals in the country beginning next year. 

This move, he said, followed the success of a pilot project at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia which started in 2002. 

“The Government is aware of the uphill battle faced by the hospitals to implement this new system but we should take it as a challenge to improve our performance,” he said in his speech read out by the ministry's deputy director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Ghani Mohamed Din at the opening of the Second International Casemix Conference in Kuala Lumpur. 

“Casemix” is a patient classification system that combines the types of diseases treated in a hospital with cost of treatment in terms of quality and effectiveness of treatment given.  

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