The Ministry of health has cautioned Kenyans over an illegal and dangerous drug retailing as a birth control pill in the market.
Despite the Pharmacy and Poisons Board issuing an advisory about the drug which has severe side effects, it is still on sale in the Kenyan market.
It is retailing as a Chinese herb and tests done by experts from the University of Nairobi at the national quality laboratory confirmed that the drugs have high levels of estrogen and progesterone that has an effect on babies.
Dr. Albert Ndwiga, the national family planning program manager, speaking during a media roundtable organized by the ministry ahead of World Contraception day, said that as a result of the drug, young children develop precocious puberty.
“The analysis showed that the tablet is not herbal at all. It contains very high levels of estrogen and progesterone which are toxic to a lot of people. We have seen children being born and they develop precocious puberty,” Ndwiga said.
“You start developing secondary sexual characteristics at a very early age, other boys fail to develop secondary sexual characteristics which include genitalia growth and it is very sad because people are still taking that pill. It is dangerous, they should stop,” he added.
Dr Andrew Mulwa, the head of preventive and promotive health at the ministry said illegal drugs find their way into the market either through porous or legal borders as undeclared goods.
“It is a criminal syndicate that brings in these goods into the country. I may not be able to give the right answers because from the health perspective, our responsibility is to tell people this is not good. As far as the ministry is concerned, we have already done and we continue to do public awareness that these products are not safe. And if we deter the population from using the substances, the criminal enterprise will collapse because they will not have a market,” Mulwa said.
It is required by law that medical products that come into the country should pass through the Pharmacy and Poisons Board for approval and regulation.