Board warns on fake ‘morning-after’ pills

By: EUNICE KILONZO

The Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board says the fake emergency contraceptive, commonly known as P2, is not yet in Kenya but asked Kenyans to be vigilant nonetheless.

This comes a day after the board released a circular that the counterfeit drug called ‘Postinor-2’ which contains two white pills, had been found in Kampala, Uganda by the World Health Organization.

The drug is used as an oral emergency contraceptive to prevent pregnancies within 72 hours after unprotected sex.

They are also used when a condom breaks, or in the event of rape and available over the counter.

According to the head of pharmacovigilance at the pharmacy board, Dr Christabel Khaemba, Kenya was put on alert “because of our proximity to Uganda and the drugs could easily find their way into the country”.

Dr Khaemba said: “We are worried that Kenyans coming in from Uganda might have taken it from there and as such, they need to seek medical advice immediately.”

She said drug inspectors are carrying out investigations on the ground and at ports of entry and they have informed all chemists across the country to be on the lookout.

INACTIVE DRUG

The original drug comes in a green pack with a white “scratch area” on the reverse side that when scratched with a coin or a metal reveals the word “original” as well as the company logo RG.

It is manufactured by Gedeon Ritcher in Budapest, Hungary.

The fake drugs, on the other hand, also come in a green pack, have a white “scratch area” on the reverse side of the pack but when the white strip at the bottom of the pack is scratched with a coin it does not bear the word “original”.

Dr Khaemba said the fake drug cannot prevent a pregnancy because they don’t not have any active ingredient.

A statement signed by the registrar of the board, Dr Kipkerich Koskei, said: “The batch number and manufacturing/expiry dates relate to a genuine batch of Postinor-2, and the manufacturers of genuine Postinor-2 have confirmed the packaging is falsified.”

SOURCE: DAILY NATION