Wednesday, June 1, 2011

CAP wants to stop over-the-counter sale of contraceptive pills

The Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) is calling for a stop to the sale of oral contraceptives over the counter and put the use of the pills under a doctor's prescription and supervision.

Its president S.M. Mohamed Idris said besides being used as a contraceptive, the pills were also used for other off-label uses like postponing periods.

He added that taking synthetic hormones (contraceptive pills) to control the ovulation process was suppressing the natural process of ovulation.

"This can disrupt the natural process of reproduction in women, causing pain, discomfort, change in moods and depression, and further creating reproductive problems for women who may later want to bear children," he said in a press conference here Wednesday.

He said according to a drug insert, the pills should not be used in the presence of any conditions like pregnancy, cardiovascular disorders, cerebrovascular disorders, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, anaemia, cancer and many more.

He said even though the drugs were controlled by the Poisons Act 1952 which requires the seller to record their sales in a register called Poisons Book, many pharmacies are not practising that.

"In a survey of 15 outlets, oral contraceptives were sold over the counter without registration of buyers' details in 14 pharmacies.

"Only one asked the buyer to register herself but the authenticity was not verified," he said.

Mohamed Idris said a number of the contraceptives were sold in loose strips with no drug information on the use, contra-indications or side-effects given to the buyer.

He said the existing law was totally meaningless as it has failed to protect women's health and in the process, put their reproductive health in jeopardy.

"A campaign should be launched to educate women on the dangers and misuse of contraceptive pills," he said.

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