Sunday, September 19, 2010

‘Miracle’ supplement dangerous to Kenyans

Reports that thousands of Kenyans have for almost six years been exposed to a controversial miracle cure, confirms for the umpteenth time how vulnerable our medical regulatory systems are.

The vendors of this medicine, Miracle Mineral Supplement, openly claim to have treated more than 10,000 Kenyans since 2004 in a church outreach programme in Kakamega.

Elsewhere in the world, the treatment has been banned because of its potential danger to human health.

But even without getting into the issue of the drug’s safety and efficacy, the vendors have totally ignored the most basic rules of introducing a medical product.

Any product claiming to confer therapeutic benefits must be registered with the government and credible documentation provided.

Such information must include data on clinical trials and other studies proving the product is safe for human use, is effective as claimed, and provides a clear indication of possible side-effects.

Evidence indicates that the vendors never sought registration in Kenya and no safety studies have been conducted here or anywhere else.

Because the whole operation is done in the open and is well-represented in the Internet, other governments have already issued cautionary advisories to their citizens. Our Ministry of Health is yet to offer any directions.

But most puzzling is why the government is so impotent when it comes to taking action against people who break the law.

The only thing the medical regulatory authorities have done is to issue regular threats of legal action, which almost always go unheeded.

With this kind of inept policing, it is little wonder that the country is a haven for fake, substandard, counterfeit and event demonstrably dangerous medicines.

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