Tuesday, December 27, 2016


NEW STRAITS TIMES - 24.12.2016
KUALA LUMPUR: CONSUMER groups, along with worried health experts observing the robustly growing “backyard” cosmetic industry, want heavily-exploited loopholes in the existing system that oversees the sector to be plugged immediately. Failure to do so, they said, will not only put the public in serious health risks, but severely taint the prospects of the small-medium scale cosmetics industry in the country. Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) president Datuk Nadzim Johan, in calling for an improved regulatory system, said the industry players are not ready to be given full trust in marketing their cosmetics. He said this is because promoting trade must never be done at the expense of public health. Cosmetics manufacturers and sellers should only be allowed to sell their products after the authorities, especially the Health Ministry, can vouch for their safety. “It is understandable that we have to facilitate trade, but it should also not be difficult for these players to send their products to accredited laboratories for testing to show that theirs is safe for consumption. “Immediate ‘fire-fighting’ measures like this, which serves as a form of effective check and balance, must be introduced immediately before more damage is done. “Many players in this industry are solely focused on making handsome profits with total disregard to consumer safety. “They are not ready to be given the kind of trust they are enjoying now,” he told the New Straits Times Special Probes Team. Having a system where cosmetics are first tested for their safety, he added, will also isolate the chances of profit-driven sellers feigning ignorance and shifting the blame to manufacturers when their harmful products are exposed. Nadzim also said while it is true that consumer awareness and education are lacking in the country, they must, at the same time, have sound access to platforms that can help them make informed decisions. The consumer advocate pointed out that in this case, consumers have no guarantee even if the cosmetics they are using come with a Health Ministry-issued “notification note”, as the products have not been through any testing to ensure safety. This, he added, is evident in the frequent recalls that the ministry has to initiate after allowing several products to be sold in the market, only to discover later that they contain harmful ingredients. Under the current regulatory system, those intending to market their cosmetics only need to notify the ministry’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA). This process is done online and after a fee of RM50 is paid, the person who signs the submission will, in three days, be given a “notification number”, which serves to record the products’ existence in the consumer market. The products can then be distributed and sold. If the seller falsely declares, or is “seemingly” unaware that his products contained banned ingredients — as would have been discovered through the NPRA’s post-market surveillance — the person who signed the “notification note” will be held responsible for recalling the product within 72 hours, or legal action will be taken against him. Health experts, meanwhile, said aside from immediate measures to ensure that cosmetics are safe for consumption, those manufacturing and marketing them must also be made to answer if they put the public’s health at risk. They cite the Pharmacy Bill, which is supposed to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat this year, as the possible answer to better regulate the country’s more than RM2 billion “backyard” beauty industry. “Any protracted disputes in the other areas of the bill that is holding it back must be addressed speedily, so that the legislation can address other critical areas in the industry, especially in matters where the lives of the public is being jeopardised by adulterated products,” an expert told the team. The proposed Pharmacy Bill is reportedly an amalgamation of four aged acts — the Pharmacist Registration Act 1951, Sales of Drug Act 1952, Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and Drug Advertisement Act 1956 — and is tailored to suit current demands and trends. It is set to address, among others, pharmaceutical practices and the classification, registration, sale, supply and licensing of medicinal products. The team also learned that the bill comes with a mandatory jail term and fine of up to RM100,000 for those found guilty of selling products that contain adulterated medicine. “The bill is supposed to look into the loopholes in current laws and impose a deterrent sentence, which includes a mandatory jail and fine of up to RM100,000,” said an industry watchdog, adding that it should also cover counterfeit medicines. “The current act does not have any provisions for counterfeit cosmetics or medicine, and perpetrators can only be charged with ‘unregistered sale’, which is punishable with a maximum fine of only RM25,000 or three years’ jail. “The penalty should be hasher since the offence is severe, and it endangers the public even more so,” the source said, adding that the new law should also include a mandatory jail term for such offence.

Dari Laman Web Rasmi PPIM http://www.ppim.org.my/

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