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News From Council

1. Withdrawal of Terfenadine from the market

The Ministry has reviewed the registration of terfenadine. Terfenadine is a long-standing antihistamine which has been associated with rare but serious heart problems when taken with certain other drugs, such as antibiotics and antifungals. The Ministry’s Medicines Advisory Committee has advised that preparations containing terfenadine will be withdrawn from the local market within a year. This is in view of the US FDA announcement on 27 February 1998 with regards to the voluntary discontinued marketing of all terfenadinne preparations in USA by Hoechst Marion Roussel and Baker Norton Pharmaceuticals. 9 preparations are involved. (Please refer to page 199). Other safer and effective alternative non-sedative long acting antihistamines such as Zyrtec (Cetirizine), Hismanal (Astemizole) and Clarityne (Loratadine) are registered and available in Singapore.

2. Issuance of Medical Certificates (MC)

The SMA Ethics Committee wishes to remind practitioners that when issuing medical certificates, his/her "name and signature are required on the medical certificate so that the practitioner who issued the certificate is clearly identified. The practitioner who issued the certificate should therefore always sign the certificate himself. Even in his absence, he should never allow the clinic staff, his/her colleagues or anyone else to sign the certificate under his name on his behalf." (SMA Ethical Code) Locum doctors are reminded that they should not sign on the MC on behalf of the doctor. Please write or rubber stamp your name on the MC and sign it under your own name.