Fri, 09 May 2003

'I didn't know about a ban on supplements'

Australia banned around 100 food supplements manufactured by Pan Pharmaceuticals Ltd. earlier this year. Following the ban, the Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency called for pharmacies to remove the drugs from the market. However, some drugstore owners in the city remained in the dark about the withdrawal order, as they told The Jakarta Post.

Liana, 60, is the owner of a drugstore on Jl. Matraman Raya, Central Jakarta. She lives nearby with her husband and two children:

I didn't know that the government withdrew the Australian supplements. I'll have my merchandise checked out soon.

Fortunately, I don't sell many food supplements manufactured by Australian companies. But if there are any, I would comply with the ban. It's my risk.

Besides, I think only a few of my customers need such supplements, especially the imported ones.

If it's true that the drugs have been withdrawn, I'm afraid I will suffer financial loses. I've already had several experiences of authorities confiscating drugs thought to be hazardous to the public, and they didn't compensate for the losses.

I wonder whether the withdrawal is just a trick among competitors in the pharmaceutical business.

I also wonder why so many people, including healthy people, are fond of taking food supplements. I'm sure that not all customers know about the real benefits of food supplements.

Wiwie, 39, owns a drugstore on Jl. Grompol, East Jakarta, and lives nearby with her husband and daughter:

I have just found out that the government has banned food supplements manufactured by an Australian company.

Luckily, I rarely sell food supplements here, let alone the imported ones. I don't want to sell imported supplements, as many of them are illegal. Everyone in the business should have known that.

So, I wonder how so many kinds of food supplements from Australia or other countries could enter the local market? I'm asking who is actually behind the free market of imported drugs here?

In all practicality, I don't want to deal with the complicated legal bureaucracy and face the risks if they confiscate the goods without compensation.

Besides, only a few customers buy food supplements around here. You can see that almost all of my customers are of the low- income bracket, who usually don't take supplements.

Eti, 21, is a shop attendant at a drugstore on Jl. Pramuka, East Jakarta. She lives in Bintara, Bekasi, with her family:

Honestly, I didn't know that local authorities had placed a ban on Australian food supplements.

In any case, we don't sell imported drugs or supplements here.

As far as I know, many imported food supplements are illegal. But if there are pharmacies or drug stores selling such goods, perhaps they are smart enough to disguise the goods.

It's better for us to sell the local ones, even though there are only a few customers who buy them.

-- Leo Wahyudi S.