Unsafe Panadol may be sold locally in shops
PANADOL tablets purchased and distributed by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services are safe.
But there may be unsafe Panadol products being sold at shops in Honiara and around the country.
National Medical Store manager William Horoto made the explanation in response to a widely circulated email, warning people to avoid paracetamol (Panadol) with the label P/500.
The email reads: URGENT WARNING! Be careful not to take the paracetamol with the label P/500. It is a new, very white and shiny paracetamol; doctors advice that it contains ‘Machupo’ virus, considered one of the most dangerous viruses in the world, with a high mortality rate.
Mr Horoto said his office is aware of the email.
But he said the National Medical Store orders its panadols from quality and well recognised pharmaceutical companies.
“Our main suppliers are British Pharmacopoeia, EU Pharmacopoeia, US Pharmacopoeia and International Pharmacopoeia,” Mr Horot said.
“The tablets in the picture circulated online are from an Indian pharmaceutical company which is not included in our Essential Medicine List,” he added.
Mr Horoto said his office did a follow up of the email last week.
“We trace the email and it originates from PNG’s Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry at Waigani in Port Moresby.
“It is through circle of friends that the email then reached Solomon Islands’ online community,” he said.
The Medical Store Manager said the situation highlights the trade of unsafe health drugs in third world countries like Solomon Islands.
“There is a high possibility that the paracetamol in the email warning could also be sold in the shops.
“Because in Solomon Islands, we have low quality control, lack of proper Customs check and poor government policy to regulate the import of medicinal drugs.
“We have private clinics, pharmaceutical stores and also Chinese shops that can order medicinal drugs anytime they wish.
“They can order and pay their drug supply from a preferred cheap supplier overseas which our department does not have in the Essential Medicine List.
“Thus if it falls into the illicit medicine suppliers, we will expect fake or dangerous medicinal drugs entering our country and putting lives at risk.”
Mr Horoto said the Essential Medicine List is agreed upon by a committee made up of specialist doctors, health consultant, and senior nurses.
“The list is reviewed regularly, based on the recommendation from each department when coming across an introduced illness or a new disease.
“In cases where dangerous drugs or fake drugs are reported, we will send them over to laboratories in Australia or Manila in the Philippines for content examination,” Mr Horoto said.
By TEDDY KAFO