October 13, 2020 7:45 AM
PETALING JAYA: Health groups and consumer advocates have called for greater regulation of unregistered hand sanitisers that can be purchased easily online, and said there’s no guarantee these products are effective or safe.
Hand sanitisers are considered a cosmetic product, and as such must be registered with the health ministry through the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) before being sold.
However, a number of unregistered products are available for purchase at online retailers for low prices, which are often displayed alongside approved products from well-known brands.
Dr Subramaniam Muniandy, president of the Malaysian Medical Association, told FMT that it “can be a challenge to determine if the products come from a reliable and trusted source,” when buying online.
“Consumers can put their health in serious danger if they buy fake products or products that do not match what was advertised.” He added that it’s important for customers to check if a product is registered before buying anything online.
Paul Selvaraj, CEO of the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations, agreed and said that online sellers should not be treated differently from traditional retailers.
“Online they sell everything, they should be bound by the same laws stopping them from selling things that haven’t been approved. There needs to be a regulation so that only approved products can be sold.”
Sukhdave Singh, secretary-general of the Malaysia Consumers Movement, said that the regulatory agencies need to get involved, “to monitor the market and take stern action against retailers who sell unregistered products”.
Consumers also need to stay diligent about avoiding potentially “fake products intended to cheat consumers,” and to report incidents of unregistered products being sold. Consumers may be under the impression they are maintaining strict hygiene by using these products without realising that in reality, they are not.”
Consumers can visit the NPRA website and search through the agency’s database of registered products if they are unsure of a product’s registration status.