SEX PILLS CRISIS
6 October 2016
. . . Pharmacies ban worsens risk
. . . Street vendors expose men
SELLING some sex enhancement drugs in the country’s pharmacies was banned a few years back by the Medicine Control Authority, but it appears the ban has failed to take effect if the increase in demand of the drugs is anything to go by.
While the intention was to protect the health of the sexually struggling men who had turned the enhancement drugs into pharmacies’ best sellers, the decision has actually made the situation worse.
The same men are now at the mercy of black market vendors who can sell anything in the name of the sought-after sex enhancing pills.
According to a snap survey by H-Metro, sex enhancement pills are all over town and they are selling like hot cakes while the country’s medicines watchdog insists the ban was the best move they could do to protect the nation.
Among the most sought after medicines are Oto, wild horse, viamax coffee, and power one, all which were banned by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) a few years back.
Viagra, whose generic name is sildenafil and tadalafil, is the only MCAZ registered drug (used by some as an aphrodisiac) in the country.
According to the MCAZ, the ban was of national interest as no specific product was developed as an aphrodisiac hence there is no scientific evidence that they really work.
MCAZ spokesperson Richard Rukwata admitted that the ban had not effected on the demand of the drugs although he insisted that the ban was for a good cause.
“It was a decision (ban) that we made after realising that the country’s pharmacies were now flooded by these sex enhancement drugs in the absence of scientific basis that they worked. We had to do something to control this influx that could harm the nation as some of the drugs were likely to be adulterated by harmful medicines.
“It is unfortunate that these same medicines that we banned in our licit market have found their way into the illicit market and we will continue with our awareness campaigns that the public should stop buying drugs from unorthodox points,” he said.
Commenting on sexual dysfunction issues, Rukwata said while this was real and remained a sensitive issue, he urged men to seek proper medical attention as this could be a sign of different ailments.
He argued that these drugs could only be offering a temporal relief due to the placebo effect.
“The mind is a powerful tool and it is the power of the mind which has made these enhancers so popular. Issues of sexual dysfunction are so real but I urge all those with the problem to go to health centres where they can be examined and have the real cause known before being given any prescription drugs.
“Something had to be done to control the influx of these medicines in our pharmacies which most of them are adulterated by harmful medicines which can damage the kidneys and the liver. Sex enhancements are not safe and we urge the public to guard against these,” he said.
Rukwata further argued that it was puzzling that people were trusting buying drugs on street corners, a move which had potential to harm or kill them.
“Why are you trusting this fellow with a back pack selling drugs on a street corner? If you develop any side effects, who do you hold accountable?”
Despite all the efforts to raid the illicit markets with the help of the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Criminal Investigative Department’s drug unit, Rukwata admitted that they were not winning the war as people keep going back to the illicit market.
“We have a mandate to protect the public but we can only do so if the public is also conscious enough not to buy medicines from the illicit market. We don’t regret the ban on these medicines whose scientific evidence remains so vague. We are a scientific organisation which bases decisions on science.
“We will continue with our public awareness campaigns and we hope the media can also help us convince the nation to do the right thing. I know there is so much poor health seeking behaviour due to our economy but we still encourage people to use public health institutes.”
Commenting on the issue of sexual dysfunction and sex enhancement pills, another local doctor argued that even sildenafil (Viagra) was not initially manufactured to enhance sex but was only developed after it was discovered that sex enhancement was amongst drug’s side effects.
“Sildenafil was initially developed as a medicine for pulmonary congestion but it was only modified after it was discovered that it enhanced sex. However all these drugs, sildenafil and tadalafil should only be given under strict prescription after a person has been examined by the doctor.
“These are not medicines that can be bought over the counter as the patient would first need an intensive medical examination. The public should however also note that sexual life is also determined by one’s age as the body regulates itself sexually with age.
“It should be noted that these remain dangerous and they can harm someone if they are not taken after strict examination,” argued the doctor.
Rukwata said that theirs was a scientific organisation that based its decisions on scientific evidence hence they were not taking any blame for the flooding of the drugs in the illicit market.
“I know you would say that ours was only a ban and we have no control to stop demand for these. Yes that is a fact, we have no control over demand but all we had to do was to use scientific evidence to protect the nation. As I said most of these drugs are or were mixed by harmful medicines which have an effect on the liver and kidneys over the long run.
“Through the use of the Medicines and Allied Substance Control Act, our main purpose was to protect the public. The Act contains a lot of provisions of public protection and we believe the conscious Zimbabwean was and remain protected through this ban.”
He further blamed the lack of arresting powers by the organisation for the flooding of counterfeit medicines and drugs in the illicit market adding that they worked with the CID drug unit to clamp on the illicit market, admitting that they were not winning the war.