LABUAN: The Health Department here has confiscated unregistered medicines and unnotified cosmetics worth RM258,741 from 2014 till March 2016.
Its director, Dr Ismail Ali, said 90 per cent of the seizure was made through online purchase, and the remaining was seized from the premises downtown.
“We have conducted all year-round operation which involved cooperation from the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism, Customs, Malaysia Airports Berhad and courier services agents,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.
He said his department’s pharmacy enforcement branch had seized 49 unregistered medicines and 13 unotified cosmetics with an estimated value of RM12,300 from seven raided premises so far this year.
“We have checked a total of 31 premises and raided seven premises so far this year. We want to increase consumer awareness on the risk and dangers of purchasing medicines through the internet,” he said.
Dr Ismail said the largest seizure was made in 2014 with the close cooperation of courier services agents with a total of RM147,481 worth of unregistered medicines seized and RM98,960 last year.
“We also made the biggest seizure last year of traditional medicines not registered with the Ministry of Health worth about RM60,952, also through courier services,” he said.
Besides through courier services, he said various types of unregistered drugs worth RM152,829 from 19 premises were seized throughout 2015.
Dr Ismail said the overall results of Operation Pangea VIII were the investigation and closure of 5,907 websites and social networking sites involving in the sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines worldwide.
Among the popular products sold online and seized by his department were sex stimulants ViMAX and Catuaba, suspected to contain the poisons Sildenafil and analog, slimming pills under the brand of Figure Up, Nutri Drops Grapefruit Diet and Shape Plus, suspected to contain the poison Sibutramine, traditional medicines under the brands of Maajun Dua Istimewa, Mujarab Resdung Plus, Al Taqwa Resdung and Maajun Mutiara suspected to contain the steroid Dexamethasone, unnotified cosmetics under the brands of Pemutih (Magic Gold Foundation) and Pemutih suspected to contain hydroquinone, mercury and Vitamin C (Injection).
“Investigations revealed most of the seized drugs were purchased through internet advertisements posted via social networking sites including WeChat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Lazada to communicate with customers,” he said.