‘Energy drink’ arouses concern in Zambia
Zambian manufactured high-energy drink allegedly leaves Ugandan man throbbing for six hours!
A popular locally manufactured energy drink has come under suspicion of being nothing but Viagra in liquid form, exciting the Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia (PSZ) into expressing strong concerns for the welfare of consumers.
The concerns have been triggered by reports from Kampala claiming that a Ugandan had, on October 30, last year, exhibited the classic symptoms associated with the blue pill after consuming Natural Power SX high-energy drink, manufactured in Ndola by a company called Revin Zambia Limited.
The unnamed complainant is said to have endured a prolonged erection that lasted nearly six hours, coupled with heart palpitations and abnormal sweating – all of which the PSZ said were classical symptoms of an overdose of Sildenafil Citrate, the main ingredient in Viagra, the blue pill prescribed for men having difficulties rising to the occasion.
It is also a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension.
In a lengthy Press statement released yesterday, PSZ presidentJerome Kanyika said members of the public should avoid consuming the popular drink which is soldin scores of outlets in Zambia, including some major supermarkets and in East and Central Africa.
Mr Kanyikasaid according to the findings of the Uganda National Drug Authority shared with his association, Natural Power SX energy drinkwas contaminated with Sildenafil Citrate.
“The test results shared by the Uganda National Drug Authority (NDA) and obtained by the PSZ on the analysis of the samples collected upon receipt of a complaint from a consumer of Natural Power SX energy drink, it was established that the product was contaminated with Sildenafil Citrate,” he said.
He explained that Sildenafil Citrate, sold under the popular brand name Viagra, among others, was a “very important drug for erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension”.
He said the drug was carefully prescribed at the right dosage (usually between 25 and 100mg max) once daily and marketing it as an energy drink was extremely dangerous as there was no practical way of limiting the daily intake by consumers.
Mr Kanyikasaid, preliminary findings indicated that the amount of Sildenafil Citrate contained in each bottle of the test samples exceeded the recommended 100mg maximumdaily dosage.
“Can you imagine the effects if a person consumed more than one bottle a day? To us, this is no coincidence but a well-calculated, unethical business practice,” he said.
Reached for comment, Revin General Manager Vikas Kapoor said his company had not yet received any official complaint but was prepared to assist the authorities in any way asked.
“I have just seen the statement on social media but I have not received any information from Ugandan authorities. We are following the matter with keen interest and will issue a statement soon,” he said.
Mr Kapoor said as far as he was concerned, there was nothing wrong with the drink in question.
Mr Kanyikasaid the product had the potential to put the reputation of Zambian exportproducts at risk as it was already being sold in a number of other countries likeUganda and Malawi.
The label on Natural Power SX depicts the muscular arm of a man and lists the ingredients as: extract of ginger, tongkataliextract, citric acid, sugar, purified water, colour, preservatives and stabiliser.
It carries advice about the contents not being suitable for people under the age of 18.
But in his statement, Mr Kanyika said the tongkataliwas a well-known aphrodisiac and testosterone booster.
As custodians of medicines and a major stakeholder on pharmaceutical matters, the PSZ was eager to learn how Revin acquired the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) to prevent future recurrences.
He called on relevant national institutions tasked with the responsibility of maintaining public health and public protection to investigate the matter and take appropriate action.
He said as the drink fell under the Food and Drugs Act and it was the responsibility of the Ndola City council to take action in conjunction with other relevant organisations.
“We further wish to advise manufacturers of drinks and food items to desist from putting advert labels on the packaging purporting to cure various diseases as the Ndolacompany has been doing,” he said.
He argued that if indeed the products contained medicinal benefits as claimed on the label, strict quality tests and registration procedures needed to be done in accordance with the Zambian laws as provided in the Medicines and Allied Substance Act.
He challenged the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) whose duty it was to certify drinks, and other relevant regulatory institutions such as ZAMRA, to take keen interest in the matter.
He said the relevant bodies should conduct quick and independent analysis with the view to removing the product from the market as soon as possible in order to protect consumers.
“ZABS would do well to consider engaging pharmacists
or other relevant health professionals in their ranks to competently handle such matters concerning pharmaceuticals like food items,” he said.