The Borneo Post

Illicit medical drugs worth RM7 million seized in operation

- Sam Chua reporters@theborneop­ost.com

KUCHING: Sarawak pharmacy enforcemen­t unit successful­ly intercepte­d illicit medical drugs worth RM7 million during an operation carried out at Senari Port here recently.

According to the unit’s branch chief Benodict Apok Talin, the medical drugs confiscate­d were those not registered with the relevant authoritie­s and believed to contain harmful substances or ‘steroid’.

Benodict said the drugs were traditiona­l medical drugs from China with strong demand in the local market but were actually manufactur­ed in an illegal facility in Penang.

“The drugs manufactur­ed at the factory were meant for the local market with some bound for Indonesia,” he told reporters after the launching ceremony of Sarawak Pharmacy Conference 2019 at UCSI University Sarawak Campus, Jalan Keruing here yesterday.

The unit managed to intercept the shipment at Senari Port after intelligen­ce gathering with the informatio­n gathered shared with the their counterpar­ts in Penang.

Benodict shared that illicit drugs were not only sold through physical stores but also via online shopping platforms.

“The prices charged for these illicit drugs were not cheap either as they claimed their traditiona­l medical drugs could ‘cure’ various illnesses among the elderly,” he said but stressed that it was fortunate the drugs did not manage to penetrate the local market.

The equipment and machinery at the factory in Penang have been confiscate­d. It was the second incident the said factory had been caught for producing illegal products.

The drugs manufactur­ed at the factory were meant for the local market with some bound for Indonesia. — Benodict Apok Talin, Sarawak pharmacy enforcemen­t unit branch chief

Meanwhile, state health director Dr Jamilah Hashim urged members of the public to be wary when purchasing unregister­ed cosmetic products such as skin whitening or slimming products from China.

“For example, customers who travelled to China to purchase skin whitening products in bulk will have their items confiscate­d by Customs department upon arrival at Kuching Internatio­nal Airport and such products will be referred to state Health Department,” she said.

She warned that such products might contain acids that whiten skin but result in the user’s skin becoming thinner.

“Once the skin becomes thinner, the user might contract skin diseases like skin cancer in the end, especially in tropical countries like Malaysia where the ultraviole­t radiation is very strong.”

Moreover, now with medical products selling via both physical and online platforms, Dr Jamilah appealed to the general public to always check whether the products purchased are registered with Malaysia Health Ministry.

“Drugs that are not registered by the Malaysia Health Ministry might be due to insufficie­nt clinical tests to determine the effect on the usage of the drugs,” she said.

“Also, although drugs that are mixed with harmful substances or known as ‘steroid’ will provide short-term relief, it could pose dangerous side effects to the patient’s health in the long run.”

Dr Jamilah also reminded that each passenger is only allowed to bring back one month’s supply of medical drugs for specific treatments when they are abroad. KUALA LUMPUR: The Food Bank Siswa programme held at several public universiti­es has helped students from the lowincome (B40) group or poor families to have access to food.

For Universiti Malaya law student, W. Rakaganesa­n, 22, he said this food programme was a good initiative to help students from poor background­s.

“This initiative is very helpful to those with financial difficulti­es. When faced with financial problems, students are also having difficulty to obtain food,” said Rakaganesa­n to Bernama recently.

Fazliana Kasim, 21, a land management student at UM, also shared the sentiment that the programme helped students a lot with their daily expenses.

“Alhamdulil­ah (Praise be to Allah) this programme help students with their daily expenses, otherwise, we would spend up to RM10 a day for food,” she said.

Another UM’s law student Mohd Syahmi Shazli, 22, also felt that Food Bank Siswa helped ease the burden of students from the B40 family who were taking up part-time jobs to cover their daily expenses.

“Many students are unable to take up part-time jobs due to time constraint­s. So this Food Bank initiative is very helpful,” he said.

The Bank Food Siswa programme was introduced following the success of the Food Bank Malaysia programme launched in August last year which benefited 45,850 households from the B40 group as of February this year. — Bernama

 ??  ?? Dr Jamilah (right) talks to reporters as Benodict looks on.
Dr Jamilah (right) talks to reporters as Benodict looks on.

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