22 Jul 2006

Doctors in Fiji call for withdrawal of some medications from shelves

8:00 am on 22 July 2006

Doctors in Fiji have called for the withdrawal from sale of medications containing a dangerous, life threatening chemical.

The substance, Phenylpropanolamine or PPA, can cause a stroke in women aged 18 to 49 and has already been banned by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The president of the Fiji College of General Practitioners, Dr Wahid Khan, says PPA is found in cold medications and diet suppressants and can cause strokes and brain hemorrhage in women.

Dr Khan says any medication containing the substance most be removed from shelves immediately.

But the Fiji Pharmaceutical Society says Fiji imports medications from places like England, Australia and New Zealand which had already withdrawn PPA from their formulations.

The society's president, Push Chand, says all medicines have side effects but health care professionals consider the risks and benefits before prescribing them.