Pharmacists mum on banned meds

Pharmacists were reluctant to comment on what the future holds for the dispensing of Synap Forte, Lentogesic and Doxyfene. The sale of these medicines containing dextropropoxyphene (DPP) were banned by order of Judge Eberhardt Berelsmann in the Pretoria High Court yesterday.

In April this year, the Medicines Control Council (MCC) withdrew the registration of medicine containing DPP after tighter regulation was implemented in other countries. The withdrawal of the medication was largely due to reports of side effects and adverse events like addiction, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and alcohol-related deaths, which raised serious questions about safety.

When interviewed by Health24 earlier today, various Cape Town pharmacists declined to comment on whether or not they will dispense these medicines when presented with a doctor's prescription for it. One pharmacist said that the fault would lie with the doctor who prescribes the medicine, and not the pharmacist that dispenses it.

The Times Live reported that Dischem's dispensary manager, Natasha Neveling, said that Synap Forte was still on their shelves – for now.  "As soon as we get the relevant information we will act accordingly to make sure we always comply," she said.

The same message was conveyed by Click's MD, Michael Harvey, who said that the chain had "some prescriptions" for Synap Forte and would not remove it from the pharmacy shelves until they receive written notice from the Medicines Control Council, according to the Times Live report. - (Health24, November 2011)

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