ONCE in a while, I receive SMS and email communication from various anonymous sources alerting me of scams, political messages and product commentaries. One text message that caught my attention in 2010 was about Saridon allegedly being unsafe, due to one of its ingredient, propyphenazone that may have side effects. I searched online but I was not able to find substantive info that would sufficiently contradict articles published at that time. I blogged about my findings and suggestions to Department of Health then at http://bit.ly/saridon.

In my presentation last to a pharmaceutical firm, I once again stumbled upon Saridon, this time for its ads. I found them to be humorous but not suggested for viewing by minors. I also commented on how various brands are using online and TV advertising to generate awareness and engagement. It also amused me on how they attack each other and make insinuation on the safety of competitor products. This is especially true for cough medicine. I blogged about this at http://bit.ly/medicinepromo.

However, this last blog post caught more attention than I expected. I got a private message saying my 2010 mention of propyphenazone safety as still an issue. Its Wikipedia entry said the ingredient is banned or restricted in some countries like Sri Lanka, Korea, Malaysia and Turkey.

Now I am more confused on this, especially on how medicines should be restricted on specific cases.

For instance, the website Filipino Doctor (http://saridon.thefilipinodoctor.com/faq.php) listed some information about the medicine and indicated pregnancy risk and intake prescription depending on age. The Saridon Wikipedia page cited an age ban for Korea, with those 15 years old and below not allowed to take the medication.

In its advertisements, which discuss how people who work hard may be subject to intense pain, safety concerns for pregnant women and young people should be communicated clearly, including in its Facebook fan page.

Maybe I am just naïve but it is unsettling to see a drug or its ingredient banned in other countries but allowed here and sold at a very affordable price.

I just hope the savings in terms of price will not lead to health issues because of uniformed people taking the medication.

To Bayer and Department of Health, I will very much appreciate more information about the propyphenazone ban in other countries and why it doesn’t apply in the Philippines. I will be happy to write a column about it if information is given.


Original article: Toral: Drug safety

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