Big week in food safety and health-related news. First the melamine eggs and the tainted soy sauce and wasabi, then the cholera outbreak in Hainan, and now this — 10 men have died in Singapore from complications resulting from the consumption of illegal China-made sex enhancement pills. The Straits Times reports:
ILLEGAL sex enhancement pills have killed six more men here in the past five months, bringing the drug’s death toll to 10 this year.
The six men, aged between 35 and 84, were comatose when they died from complications such as infections and major organ failure.
Four other men died in a similar way in April and May.
They had taken pills containing overly high levels of a diabetes drug, which lowered their blood sugar levels and caused symptoms such as dizziness, drowsiness and weakness.
So far, four herbal products available here – Power 1 Walnut, fake Cialis, Santi Bovine Penis Erecting Capsule and Zhong Hua Niu Bian – have been found to contain the diabetes drug glibenclamide at levels of up to five times the maximum dose taken by diabetics.
Raids by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and law enforcement officers, including the police, have yielded more than 500,000 such illegal sex pills worth more than $1 million.
Since such pills first surfaced here in January, 61 men have fallen ill from taking them. A further 148 are suspected of having done so, going by the symptoms they had, although none admitted to having taken these pills.
The men were aged 21 to 97.
Despite repeated warnings from the HSA, more men have continued popping these pills, though the rate at which cases are being reported to the authority has been slowing down.
In the 51/2 months from mid- May to Thursday this week, 78 cases were reported; in the first 41/2 months of the year, 131 cases had surfaced.
We really want to make fun of these exceptional risk-takers, but we won’t. This year at the 5th China International Sex Toy Exhibition we saw lots of very adventurous men (Chinese and foreign) crowding around booths to purchase the wide variety of sex enhancement pills on display, and wondered to ourselves if these men had no concern for their health. Expect a huge crackdown on the pharmaceuticals industry once they’re done with all this melamine hoopla.
Photo of the illegal sex pills made available by Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority.