Up to 30% of medicines in developing countries are #fakemeds
© HSA Singapore
I am an endocrinologist. This is a story reflecting the human suffering caused by illegal erectile dysfunction pills (“ED pills”).
The young man lies there on the hospital bed. His vital signs are normal, he is still sleeping and has a feeding tube coming out from his nose. I am the attending consultant in charge of the team doing my morning rounds and I ask them what is the story.
The man was admitted the day before for dangerously low blood sugar. He has no history of diabetes and had not taken any diabetic medication but he seems to have taken some sex pills from off the street.
Although his blood sugar has been corrected with intravenous glucose, the young man has not woken up. In fact, he never did. The severe low blood sugar caused permanent brain damage. We could only prepare his devastated family for a lifetime of nursing care for him.
Why did he develop low blood sugar? The Health Sciences Authority of Singapore has found that many fake sex pills contain glibenclamide, a blood sugar lowering agent, at high doses.
This high dose of glibenclamide causes the blood sugar to drop, increasing the response of adrenalin and causing excitement, increased heart rate and blood pressure. We can’t be sure why the counterfeiters put glibenclamide into their pills, but we suspect that they are relying on the effects of low blood sugar for improved sexual performance.
Other patients have experienced seizures and have even died after taking these pills. Please do not use sex pills without prescriptions and don’t buy any pills from off the street.