Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO
STAKEHOLDERS should take away emotions from the current debate regarding Natural Power SX, an energy drink made in Zambia which is now trending on social media and making headlines in mainstream media.
Revin Zambia, the manufacturers of the drink, have made headway in penetrating the East and southern African markets.
Zambia is said to be importing more than what it is exporting. But Revin Zambia is reversing the trend by selling the energy drink to East Africa and Malawi where the Natural Power SX has been wholly accepted.
Instead of criticising Natural Power SX wholesomely, let us encourage the company to revisit the formula so that it caters for the concerns noted by Ugandan regulators.
The Ugandan National Drug Authority alleges that the drink contains an aphrodisiac called Viagra.
Stakeholders such as the Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia (PSZ) should not come out strongly like it has done because it never alerted citizens about the harmful effects of Natural Power SX.
Rather, the local pharmaceutical watchdog should be introspecting why it had to take Ugandan National Drug Authority to determine that Natural Power SX is a harmful product.
While Natural Power SX is trending, especially among the youth and gymnasts, the PSZ and other stakeholders should be questioning how many products citizens are consuming daily that may be harmful to their health.
This country is awash with all manner of products being sold in shops, on the streets and even markets purporting to be of service to the public.
There are hundreds of products targeting citizens with hypertension, diabetes, sexual performance enhancers as well as for weight management.
We have not heard the PSZ alerting unsuspecting citizens about such products, neither have relevant regulatory institutions such as the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) and Zambia Medicine Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) taken action.
It is therefore not far-fetched to suggest that there are a lot of drinks and other products on the market which are far from meeting quality control standards.
Regulators should withdraw Natural Power SX from the market until claims that the product has detrimental effects on the medical conditions of consumers are fully investigated.
It is also a timely warning to consumers to be cautious with most of the energy drinks on the market because of their harmful potential.
While Natural Power SX is popular, just like other energy drinks, it is abused as people take them unnecessarily.
It is the reason why cases of hypertension, diabetes and heart attack are on the rise in the country.
Consuming aphrodisiacs has also contributed to the rise in rape cases and defilement.
Forewarned is fore-armed
The author is Zambia Daily Mail editorials editor.
Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO