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A Bitter Pill

David Mirabito, a 30-year-old Sydney man, was one of a number of people who suffered at the hand of PAN Pharmaceuticals. Preparing for a sailing regatta in January, he found himself “semi-conscious, incoherent…and really, really sick”. The skipper, Hans Rijsdijk later found Mirabito semi-comatose.

Before leaving shore, Mirabito had swallowed one Travacalm motion sickness tablet, which he had taken before with no problems.

Sydney stockbroker Mark Tooher also was a regular user of the pharmaceutical drug, until last year when he experienced muscle cramps, and “nightmares while I was awake”. He was on holiday with his wife Kelly in Europe, when he was forced of the bus in Italy “Delirious, making mannerisms with my hands, pushing away these entities that were bombarding my mind” Unfortunately for Toohey, although told symptoms would stop after 48 hours, has experienced frightening flashbacks over the last 6 months.

19 people were hospitalised and 68 others experienced a reaction to faulty batch. As a result the TGA recalled all products made by Pan Pharmaceuticals since 1/5/02, and Pan’s license to manufacture was suspended.

The TGA (Therapeutic Goods Act) is supposed to ensure practices are in place to prevent any kind of contamination. They failed in their role as a watchdog, yet are insisting we accept the TGA as our regulator. Clearly their system leaves a lot to be desired, and we will pay a pretty penny for this faulty regime as well – in more ways than one.

What followed was, what can only be called the grandmother of media sensationalism, a global release on how dangerous supplements were. It is no coincidence that full-page spreads were released in New York, the UK, and Australia, within 24 hours of each other, taking a good kick at the Natural Health Industry.


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