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Drug retailers are not allowed to trade in products containing Methanol

On May 10, the Ministry of Health issued a dispatch requesting to strengthen the management of Methanol-containing products purchased and sold at pharmaceutical business establishments.

Currently, some drug retailers sell products containing the chemical Methanol, which is confusing with alcohol sanitizer or instructions for use such as skin antiseptic products, hand sanitizers for medical use.

This endangers the life and health of the user and does not have the desired disinfecting effect.

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An image of an alcohol bottle containing Methanol bought at a pharmacy that a 54-year-old male patient mistakenly drank, leading to poisoning. Photo: Bach Mai Hospital

According to the Ministry of Health, Methanol is a chemical used for the purposes of fuel, washing tools, and solvents for testing chemicals. This agency confirmed that this is not a drug, a medicinal ingredient and is not used for medical disinfection purposes.

In March, Bach Mai Hospital treated a 54-year-old male patient in Hanoi who was admitted to the hospital with headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, and was diagnosed with poisoning by mistakenly drinking 70-degree alcohol.

His family said he bought alcohol to disinfect to prevent Covid-19. Because bought at the pharmacy, the family trusted to disinfect without carefully reading the use stated on the label as “Used as fuel and glass cleaner”.

The Poison Control Center of Bach Mai Hospital tested the alcohol bottle brought by the family. The result of detection of industrial alcohol concentration of Methanol is 56%. The above patient was treated with emergency dialysis, through a critical crisis, but still had blurred vision.

To ensure the safety of users, the Ministry of Health proposed the local Departments of Health to direct establishments trading in drugs or products to disinfect skin and disinfect hands for medical use. about ingredients and labels before buying and selling antiseptic products for skin and hands.

These business establishments must also provide specific and complete instructions to buyers and patients on the notes and carefully read the instructions before using the product to disinfect the skin, disinfect the hands.

The Ministry of Health requested localities to strengthen inspection of production and trading activities of skin antiseptic products and hand sanitizers for medical use in the locality, ensuring that drug retailers are not allowed to trade. sales and marketing of products containing Methanol.

The Department of Health is also assigned to direct the Department’s Inspector to coordinate with the Department’s departments and agencies and functional agencies in the area to inspect and sanction business establishments that buy and sell Methanol without business registration certificates. does not have a chemical business scope and is not granted a certificate of eligibility to trade in chemicals, or has licenses but does not comply with the laws on chemical management and other relevant regulations.

For establishments that trade in drugs or products for skin antiseptics and medical hand sanitizers, the Ministry of Health requires not to trade in skin antiseptic and medical hand sanitizer products when detecting successful results. Part of the product contains Methanol…

Dr. Nguyen Trung Nguyen – Director of the Anti-Poison Center – said that the most commonly used disinfectant alcohol is ethanol, while industrial alcohol Methanol is a toxic chemical that cannot be used to disinfect.

In recent years, through testing alcohol bottles brought in by patients, the Poison Control Center discovered many fake antiseptic alcohol products (alcohol bottles containing only industrial alcohol ingredients Methanol and water) and reported them. Report to the authorities and make the announcement widely.

However, the center’s leader said that many such industrial alcohol products continue to be sold in pharmacies, but the label has changed in terms of use to “for burning or cleaning” the form of bottles and labels. The label is still very similar to the bottles of antiseptic alcohol…

According to Dr. Nguyen, in addition to not guaranteeing sterilization, when using too much Methanol industrial alcohol on the skin on a large scale, many times it will penetrate the skin enough to cause poisoning (metabolic acidosis, eye damage, brain damage). ).

Thanh Hien

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