The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) announced its plans Friday to strengthen its regulation against psychotropic drugs such as propofol.
Propofol is a short-acting medication used during the starting and maintenance of general anesthesia, sedation for mechanically ventilated adults, and procedural sedation. In 2010, the health ministry designated it as a psychotropic drug following the deaths of several propofol addicts.
Under the revised law, which goes into effect on May 18, pharmaceutical companies, wholesalers, medical clinics, pharmacies and others that handle psychotropic drugs must mandatorily report any form of use into an integrated drug management system.
The ministry expects the new amendment will prevent illegal distribution of the drug as the new management system will record the entire process from drug importation to use.
The ministry has also designated 23-types of propofol under its new categorical distinction called “priority control products,” a group consisting of commonly abused psychotropic.
The ministry requires handlers of such psychotropic drugs to report priority control products to the computer system within a week of handling while requiring authorities to report general management items until the 10th day of the following month.
The move comes after cases involving the drug with celebrities, or medical negligence have surfaced for more than one occasion.
In 2014, Korea Immigration Service ordered TV personality Amy, whose Korean name is Lee Yoon-ji, to leave South Korea for breaking a vow not to violate drug laws again after she received a suspended jail term for abusing the psychotropic drug propofol in November 2012.
In 2015, the police booked a plastic surgeon for reusing propofol to save money, which led to the death of a patient. During that time, the doctor collected propofol left in used bottles and used it on two patients, resulting in one patient in intensive care and one death.
“The new system is intended for intensive management of the psychotropic medicines in the country along with medical drugs,” the ministry said in a statement.
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