Govt urged to crack down on black market for medicines

PETALING JAYA: Stronger enforcement is needed to curb the online sale of illicit medicines, say concerned parties.

Prof Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said the Health Ministry’s Medicine Advertisement Board should work with the Communications Ministry and drug enforcement agencies to step up enforcement against illicit medicines being peddled online.

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“The laws are available, but irresponsible vendors take advantage of the loopholes, so many people sell the medicine online. They may mask the actual uses of the medicines, and this may ‘cover up’ their online venture,” she said.

Prof Sharifa Ezat also warned that those who buy these medicines online would be at a severe disadvantage since they would not know their proper use, side effects, complications or possible interactions with other drugs.

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“In the case of antimicrobials sold online, they may lead to the bigger issue of antimicrobial resistance,” she said.

She also voiced her concern about the online black market.

“There is a possibility that some drugs are sold online, especially in the black market. This may encourage young people to buy online,” she added.

Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) education officer NV Subbarow said new laws are needed to step up regulation of such sales.

“These unregulated and unregistered medicines can cause many side effects,” he said.

To make matters worse, he said these medicines are being sold to people who do not have full knowledge of their uses.

“The relevant authorities must take appropriate action against people who promote these medicines. We need new laws to stop this kind of sale and there must be no compromise in the action taken,” said Subbarow.

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