Newspaper survey finds schedule four drugs in herbal ‘viagra’ sold in pharmacies

2010-12-06 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Herbal erectile agents illegally containing schedule four prescription medicine can be found on South African pharmacy and shop shelves without any proper control and probably without the distributors’ being aware of the content.

A Beeld investigation has found that four of the 14 products bought over the counter contain active ingredients of the prescription medicines Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

These ingredients are illegal in products not registered with the South African Medicines Control Council (MCC) as medicines and are dangerous to ingest without consulting a medical doctor.

However, the Health Department does not have the staff, money or regulations to protect the public properly against contaminated products.

Beeld bought the products with witnesses present and had them tested by an accredited laboratory.

The tests showed that packets of Maximor and Staminafit bought at Dis-Chem in Brooklyn contained vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis) respectively.

The Panalt bought at the Hustler store in Lynnwood contained sildenafil citrate (Viagra).

A packet of OTO Bang Bang Strongman bought at the Arrie Nel pharmacy group’s Moreleta Park outlet contained sildenafil citrate and tadalafil.

Beeld submitted the results to the MCC, but its spokesperson has not yet responded to media inquires.

An angry Arrie Nel says he has previously confronted the supplier of OTO Bang Bang Strongman.

“I’m going to remove the stuff from the shelves … The guys (MCC) that are supposed to protect me aren’t doing so. Pharmacists can’t afford to send every product in their shops for laboratory testing. The MCC did not tolerate this kind of thing in earlier years (1980s).”

The supplier of the product, Rashid Ismail of Masushita Trading, said “it is impossible” that his product is contaminated. He could not supply the full names of his overseas “boss”.

Beeld was later told that several samples have been sent to the SABS for analysis and that the results are expected by February next year.

Beeld’s findings to them. Viscarra said that in the meantime his product will remain on the shelves.

George Horn of the Hustler shop in Lynnwood said “a Nigerian” supplies his Panalt, but would not identify the man.

 

Mark Davy of Panalt in KwaZulu-Natal maintains that the Panalt in the test had been tampered with.

Beeld is investigating a further eight products in which indications were found that they contain derivatives of sildenafil citrate.

Dis-Chem director Stan Goetsch said the group requested “registration documents” from distributors and will remove products if they are not in order.

Responding to a question whether Dis-Chem can guarantee the safety of any of the herbal products in its stores, Goetsch said it is the MCC’s responsibility to regulate herbal products and the task of customs to keep contaminated products out of the country. He said the group relies on all its suppliers to abide by MCC policies and procedures.

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