Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

CAP: Ban microplastics in cosmetics and personal care products

The Consumers Association of Penang calls on the authorities to ban microplastics in personal care and cosmetic products in view of the health and environmental hazards associated with these tiny plastic particles.

For the last 50 years, microparticles of plastic, or microplastics, have been used in personal care products and cosmetics, replacing natural options in a large number of cosmetic and personal care formulations.

WHERE IS OUR MEDICAL EDUCATION HEADING?

The last few months has seen a lot of discourse in the media on the plight of young trainee doctors or housemen as they are called.   We saw a lot of shocking headlines – ‘not cut out to be doctors’, ‘grappling with housemen woes’, ‘housemen buckling under pressure’ – just to name a few. The most shocking revelation was that housemen comprised the highest number of civil servants who were sacked.   According to some media reports 1 out of 5 housemen drop out annually with the total dropouts numbering up to 1000 or more annually

The average cost of studying medicine at a foreign university branch campus in Malaysia is around RM500,000 excluding living expenses.  Just taking this as a benchmark you’re looking at a loss of RM500 million.  This is a colossal waste of resources. After spending years in tuition and training only to drop out just at the threshold of their medical career.

Our high medicine prices are killing patients

Control astronomical prices of medicines now

Expenditure on medicines comprise a large share of total health expenditure. The Ministry of Health (MOH) expenditure on medicines has been steadily increasing from RM1.61 billion in 2010; to RM1.76 billion in 2011; RM1.98 billion in 2012 and RM2.2 billion in 2013. This was an increase of 36.5% in the span of 3 years.

Medicines expenditure will only increase in the future with an ageing population, the shift to chronic diseases, new patented medicines at monopoly prices, and the increased demand for health care.

Ensuring universal access to medicines and meeting the health needs of the population will be a major challenge.

Depression and its many causes

depression-drawing-colourWe all feel “down” or “blue” at times. All of us have days when we feel “depressed”. Usually, these feelings are temporary, and we can have a great day tomorrow. Even when we have a bad day, we can still find enjoyment in things. These occasional bad days are part of life and not depression.

Sometimes though, these feelings may persist for several days or even weeks. This is common following the break-up of a relationship or other unpleasant event.  In many cases, the sadness or depressed mood may accompany problems such as loss of appetite, overeating, sleeplessness, excessive sleeping, lack of energy and drive, loss of interest and joy, etc. This is when depression becomes a medical illness.

Test Loom Bands and Clear Confusion

alt

As of late there has been a lot of conflicting news in circulation about loom band and phthalates – a harmful chemical commonly found in plastic products. Looms bands have become a nationwide craze; popular among children and adults alike. Therefore it is a concern for us, the Consumer’s Association of Penang, that there are such contradictory reports on whether or not loom bands are safe. We believe it is crucial that all loom bands be tested and the results of said test be released to the public so consumers may know what is safe and what is not.