Zambia Bans Energy Drink
On Wednesday, March 20, Zambia banned an energy drink, Power Natural Energy Drink SX, after it was found to contain sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in Viagra. The drink, which is made in Zambia, is not marketed as a sexual aid.
The Ndola City Council has instructed Revin Zambia Limited, the drinks manufacturer to recall the drink from all 10 provinces supervised by the Ndola City Council. Ndola, located in the copperbelt province, is the third largest city in Zambia.
After receiving a complaint from Zambia Medicine Regulatory Authority through a letter in December that suggested adulteration of the energy drink with sildenafil citrate, the Ndola City Council decided to gather some samples, which they sent to the Food and Drugs Laboratory for investigation.
Ndola City Council, Ministry of Health, Zambia Bureau of Standards, ZAMRA, and others also sent samples to Zimbabwe and South Africa to be further investigated for the alleged adulteration.
Results from Zimbabwe, South Africa, and the Foods and Drugs Laboratory all indicated a presence of sildenafil citrate in Natural Power SX Energy Drink. “Results from both Zimbabwe and South Africa correlated with those obtained from the Foods and Drugs Laboratory that indicated a positive presence of sildenafil citrate,” Zambian Authorities confirmed to Reuters.
The raw material samples that were tested were negative for sildenafil citrate. However, levels from 68.5 mg -71.3 mg of Sildenafil Citrate per 250 ml of the energy drink were found in drink samples. This incongruence proves the adulteration accusation.
Jerome Kanyika, the head of the Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia said it was “a welcome move but also an embarrassment to us as a country because we had to rely on investigations by other countries.”
The original discovery of sildenafil citrate was made by Ugandan health authorities last December which caused the popularity of the drink to surge.
The drink, which is exported to neighboring African countries like Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe, was banned in Malawi in January due to safety concerns raised in Zambia and Uganda.
Despite the ban, the drink is still sold in supermarkets and by street vendors in Zambia, and Revin Zambia Limited have not commented publicly on the ban.