Lesufi apologises for promoting unapproved Chinese traditional medicine for treatment of Covid-19

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  • Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has apologised for endorsing a traditional medicine.
  • In a viral video, Lesufi promoted the Chinese product for the treatment of Covid-19.
  • He has since vowed to work with Sahpra to "reverse" the incorrect information shared with the public.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has apologised for his role in a viral video in which he promotes a traditional Chinese medicine product for the treatment of Covid-19.

The promotional video, which has been shared on social messaging apps, shows Lesufi saying the capsules of traditional medicine offered his family relief from Covid-19 symptoms, according to Daily Maverick.

The capsules have reportedly been flagged as ineffective by a Swedish study, with the US Food and Drug Administration issuing warning letters for companies selling it.

Lesufi has since issued an apology, saying he participated in "medical trials for capsules to assist in the fight against various diseases".

READ | 'Unnecessary outrage': Lesufi apologises after accusing Springbok fan of flaunting old SA flag

"Following the trials, the MEC was asked about the impact of the medication on his health and, sadly, his response was leaked through social media, breaching his right to privacy and confidentiality," Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said on Wednesday.

Later that day, Lesufi released a statement saying he had engaged with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).

"I now realise that I participated in an unauthorised medical process and for that I sincerely apologise and hereby, unconditionally so, withdraw all the comments made during the product study," Lesufi said.

"The information was shared to the public without my permission. I trusted the pharmacist, the custodian of medicines, to guide me correctly but that was not the case. I trusted my pharmacist in this instance who invited me to participate in taking part in the product study and who claimed that the product was submitted for approval… I sincerely apologise for my careless behaviour and will co-operate fully with Sahpra to ensure that this matter is correctly addressed," he said.

Lesufi added that he would be working with the Regulatory Compliance Unit of Sahpra to "reverse the incorrect information shared with the public".

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