Creams? There's the rub

25 August 2015 - 02:03 By Katharine Child

The Medicines Control Council has issued Government Gazette notices naming several skin creams that it deems ''undesirable", illegal and dangerous. They are Betasol cream, Epiderm, Diproson cream or lotion, Lemonvate cream, Dermo Gel Plus, Tempovate and Top Gel 30g.These creams, some of which are used for skin lightening, were, according to the gazette, illegally imported into the country by a company named Coconut Express CC.All the creams listed claim to contain corticosteroids.Corticosteroids are synthetic hormones used to treat skin rashes, insect bites or more serious skin diseases such as eczema.A corticosteroid cream should be bought at a pharmacy and may require a doctor's prescription due to its strength and side effects.Side effects could include scars, tearing, skin thinning, stretch marks and increased susceptibility to other skin infections.Medicines Control Council Registrar Joey Gouws said the labels on the creams claimed to have corticosteroids as ingredients. Tests revealed some creams did contain the ingredient and therefore should be classified as medicines.Gouws said the creams' efficacy and safety had not been checked as per legal requirement. She said creams with active pharmaceutical ingredients, such as corticosteroids, were medicines and should not be bought from hawkers.The Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of SA warned consumers that it was "aware many consumers would look for ways to save money. But with medications it is not as simple as buying the cheapest toothpaste or soap."The manufacturers include Shalina Laboratories from India, Esapharma from Italy and Tempo Scan Pacific from Indonesia.

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