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Clamp down online sale of unregistered medicines

  • While the authorities have made the effort to step up enforcement, consumers must also extend their full cooperation. Photo courtesy: AFP

Sin Chew Daily

Online shopping has become the way of consumerism for modern men. Malaysia is going down the same path as evidenced by a surge in the number of e-commerce players in recent years.

Generally speaking, cross border online shopping is not going to pose any major problem, but online marketers selling cosmetics and medicines through social media sites could potentially spark product safety concerns.

It is learned that purchase of cosmetics and medicines via social media sites has become every common in Malaysia nowadays, thanks to the online shopping craze.

It is very easy for local consumers to gain access to cosmetics and medicines from places like China, Japan and Korea through online shopping platforms, but as some of these products have not been registered with the Malaysian ministry of health, there are concerns they may contain ingredients harmful to the human body.

According to the observations of the health ministry's pharmacy enforcement division, among the most popular unregistered beauty and health products available at online shopping platforms are sexual enhancement products and stimulants, steroids and slimming products containing banned ingredient sibutramine.

For the sake of Malaysians' health, it is imperative for the authorities to take stern actions against the sale of these products.

The sellers are marketing their products online in a bid to supplement their incomes while these products have become popular among Malaysian women. Anyway, both sides must comply with the country's laws when it comes to selling and buying of health products online, especially when potential health hazards are involved.

We have to make it very clear that the sale of any health product containing ingredients unregistered with the health ministry is illegal, even though they may have oversea certifications.

To check the sale of such products, the health ministry plans to increase the penalties for the production, sale, supply, import, possession and consumption of unregistered beauty and health products.

Under the existing laws a, first-time individual violator can be fined not more than RM25.000 or three months in jail, or both, upon conviction. The heavier penalties are meant to safeguard the health and safety of local consumers.

The ministry of health's pharmacy enforcement division is seriously looking into this issue now and will continue to monitor the sale of such products online on a daily basis.

While the authorities have made the effort to step up enforcement, consumers must also extend their full cooperation. They must insist to purchase only registered products and provide accurate information to the authorities to help clamp down the sale of unregistered medicines on the Internet.

 

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