Ex-Sabah CM questions delay in withdrawal of medication with losartan

Former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee.

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee has questioned the government over the belated announcement on the withdrawal of seven types of high blood pressure medication containing Losartan.

He said he was shocked to find out that the medicines could cause cancer in the long run as he was among thousands of patients prescribed medication.

Yong said he had been consuming Losartas 100mg pills for some years now and was upset when he found out the drug had such adverse long-term effects.

“I feel that such a mistake should never have happened in our country because Malaysia has a good reputation for our healthcare services,” he said to FMT.

Yesterday, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye called on patients to return the medication containing Losartan to suppliers.

The seven types are Losagen 50, Losagen 100, Losartas 50mg tablets, Losartas 100mg tablets, Tozaar Plus LS 50/12.5mg tablets, Tozaar 50mg tablets and Tozaar 100mg tablets.

Lee said patients need not panic as there are no short-term effects but pointed out “there is a potential human carcinogen risk due to the substance in the medications”.

He said his ministry had shelved the medication since early March when a statement to recall the medicine was released, adding returned medication can be exchanged with other approved ones.

Yong was upset that the medication prescribed to him by his government clinic was not safe in the long run.

“This is obviously a huge matter of public concern and MPs should debate the issue in the Dewan Rakyat,” Yong said.

The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president said the health ministry is under obligation to shed more light on how this mistake came about and why it took so long to be detected.

He said no one should blame the doctors, nurses and staff in the government clinics for dispensing the medicines.

“When did the ministry come to know about this matter? How long did it take for the ministry to make it public?

“Is there a medication to undo or reverse the cancer-causing substance? If so, the government should prescribe it to all the patients.”