New Straits Times

Paracetamol pills in Malaysia do not contain deadly virus, says Health Ministry

A viral rumour of virus-containing paracetamols is confirmed untrue by the Malaysian Health Ministry

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 3:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 3:33pm

By Laili Ismail

Relax, everyone, and take a chill pill.

The Malaysian Health Ministry today shot down rumours circulating on social media that P/500 paracetamol tablets in Malaysia contain the ‘Machupo’ virus.

Malaysia’s Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said, just like most viruses, the Machupo cannot live in dry environments such as in paracetamol tablets.

“The Machupo virus is categorised in the Arenavirus group which could cause haemorrhagic fever. At the moment, the virus can only be found in South America.

“It is spread through the urine or faeces of infected rodents,” he said in a statement today.

Noor Hisham said the ministry had not received any reports regarding paracetamol contamination from authorities in manufacturing countries or any other country so far.

He said the white-coloured Aeknil paracetamol tablets, which were featured in the viral postings, were not registered with the ministry and were different from the Aeknil tablets that were registered.

“The Aeknil product registered with the ministry (registration number MAL19911249XZ) contains 500mg of paracetamol as the active ingredient and indicated as ‘for the relief of mild to moderate pain and reduce fever’.

“The registered tablet is blue-coloured, round, has a 0.5 inch diameter and has the word ‘aeknil’ or ‘therapeutic’ on its surface,” he elaborated.

Noor Hisham told the New Straits Times that paracetamol tablets were safe for consumption but only those which were registered locally.

“(The ‘Aeknil’ product featured in the fake messages) is not available locally, (but) the news that went viral transcends across borders.

“Locally-registered paracetamol tablets are safe,” he assured.

Noor Hisham advised the public to not trust hoax messages and unverified reports, and to ensure the products they consume are registered.

“The public is urged to ensure that products used have hologram stickers and labelled with MAL registration numbers,” he said.

Checks on a product’s registration status could be made through https//:npra.moh.gov.my.