The hunt is on for errant businesses offering ozone therapy.
- No evidence to support claims of treatment’s effectiveness
- Ozone therapy risks include death from air embolism
- Nationwide crackdown on the “illegal procedure” of ozone therapy
- Clamp down on websites and social media accounts promoting ozone therapy
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam announced on May 3 the blanket ban on the commercial use of ozone therapy machines in the country.
He gave business premises, including clinics and beauty parlours offering ozone therapy, until Jul 1 to voluntarily shut down their operations, reported the New Straits Times.
According to the ministry, there would be no extension of the deadline despite the mixed reaction from industry players.
So from tomorrow, the crackdown on businesses offering ozone therapy will begin.
According to the English daily, prior to the deadline, Health Ministry’s enforcers posing as customers checked out errant business owners, who mostly offered the “treatment” from their beauty parlours, to document evidence that the operators were breaking the law, making profits at the expense of public health.
With ozone therapy now considered an “illegal procedure” in Malaysia, those caught offering such treatments would be prosecuted.
Deputy director-general of Health (medical) Datuk Dr S Jeyaindran said, “Any medical practitioner who provides the procedure is breaching the Medical Device Act because they are using an unregistered medical machine.
“If they are non-medical practitioners, then they are breaking even more regulations because they cannot use needles or syringes, which they need to perform such treatments,” he said.
He added that the Ministry’s Medical Device Authority (MDA) would also take action based on public complaints.
Since Jan 1, the New Straits Times has been championing for the unsanctioned treatment to be banned.
The newspaper had reported on the increasing popularity of ozone therapy among Malaysians, who were unaware of its risks, including death from air embolism.
Dr Jeyaindran said there was no evidence to support claims of the treatment’s effectiveness and that existing evidence showed otherwise.
“Those who strongly believe in the health benefits of ozone therapy can submit their evidence to us to be reviewed…. We are open to it. But, in the meantime, until they find the evidence, they must stop their operations,” he said.
MDA chief executive officer Zamane Abdul Rahman told the New Straits Times that his team was working with other health agencies to conduct integrated raids throughout the country.
“Our surveillance will intensify and we will collaborate with other agencies such the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency and the Medical Practice Division to rein in errant operators.
“In the Klang Valley alone, we have identified at least 40 premises still operating.
“We will expand our operations to focus on other states,” he said.
Zamane added that premises found to be operating unregistered ozone machines would have their equipment sealed and seized.
“Until today, none of the ozone therapy machines in our country are registered with MDA. So, from tomorrow onwards, if they are found to be using ozone machines, we will seize them,” he said.
Zamane said MDA would also clamp down on websites and social media accounts which promote ozone therapy in the country.
“We will seek the assistance of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to close sites and accounts which have been aggressively promoting ozone therapy in our country,” he said.