Health officials rubbish e-mail warning against cold medicines

A purportedly-official e-mail warning people against popular cold medicines, including Panadol, have been condemned by health officials and manufacturers alike as irresponsible in the midst of the UAE flu season.

Gulf News

E-mail warning against medicines 'false'

'Irresponsible' notice cites fake official letter banning certain medications for cold and flu

By Nina MuslimStaff Reporter

Dubai: A purportedly official e-mail warning people against popular medicines for colds, including Panadol, have been condemned by doctors and health officials as irresponsible in the middle of the flu season.

The e-mail lists Panadol Cold and Flu, Advil Cold and Sinus, Clarinase and the generic medicine Flutab by Julphar as banned, citing a fake letter from the Saudi Ministry of Health, for causing heart and mental problems.

These medicines are sold over the counter in the UAE and are popular options for people seeking relief from cold and flu symptoms.

Dr Easa Al Mansouri, director of pharmaceutical supplies at the UAE Ministry of Health, told Gulf News there was no truth in the e-mail.

Flu season

"We have communications with other GCC countries [including Saudi Arabia]. If anything happened in any country, we would hear about it and there has been nothing reported," he said.

He said the e-mail was likely to be generated by competitors of the medicines, adding people should verify the information first with authorities before forwarding any e-mail.

Dr Bassam Mahboub, consultant chest and allergy physician with the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms), told Gulf News the timing of the e-mail was irresponsible but said it also served to remind people of side effects attached to the medicines.

"The medicines are very common and relatively safe. But people with pre-existing heart and mood problems should consult their doctor before taking them because the decongestant in them increases the heart rate and predisposes them to nervousness," he said.

"Even for healthy people, I would not recommend they take the medicines for more than five days."

Kekoushik Gupta, brand manager for Panadol at GlaxoSmithKline, told Gulf News the company was aware of the e-mail.

"It is not true. These types of e-mails just cause unnecessary panic among the people," he said.

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