PUTRAJAYA, April 23 (Bernama) -- Data from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has showed an increasing and worrying trend of usage of psychotropic substances and controlled medicines in the country compared to other countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Japan, China and India.
Director-General of Health, Tan Sri Mohd Ismail Merican, said besides detecting various clinics and pharmacies purchasing psychotropic substances, the purchase of pseudoephedrine (a precursor chemical) in large quantities was suspicious.
He said Health Ministry investigation also revealed the role of the establishments of supplying the medicines for illegitimate use dircetly to addicts and illegal outlets through middle men.
"The type of psychotropic products are from the benzodiasepines group (namely midazolam, zolpidem, alprazolam and others); and narcotic derivatives such as dihydrocodeine, dextromethorphan, tramadol and pseudoephedrine.
"These products contain substances used mainly as tranquillizers, to reduce pain and also for symptomatic treatment of coughs and colds," he said in a statement today.
Mohd Ismail said pseudoephedrine was used in the illegal manufacture of amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) such as syabu and ecstasy.
He said inspections carried out by the Pharmacy Enforcement division on 20 clinics in the Klang valley revealed large purchases of the Midazolam Table 15mg for purpose of diversions by these clinics.
"Diversions of pseudoephedrine in huge quantities involving two pharmacies and a medical clinic has also been identified and the suspects are being investigated and legal action will be taken against them" he said.
He strongly urged manufacturers, importers and main distributors to not entertain purchases in large quantities which are doubtful and should refer to the Pharmacy Enforcement for verification.
Mohd Ismail warned medical practioners and pharmacists who are directly involved or in cohort with these illegal syndicates that they will not be spared from legal action.
In 2009, the Pharmacy Enforcement prosecuted 29 cases involving medical clinics and 97 more were being investigated while for pharmacies 30 cases had been prosecuted and 48 were under investigation.