After debunking, maker of ‘health tag’ denies claiming it can prevent Covid-19

Zurairi Ar
Antah Pharma clarified that its ‘Defend Tag’ did not claim to be a preventive device against potential contraction of Covid-19. — Picture courtesy of Antah Pharma

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Antah Pharma Sdn Bhd, the company behind a “health tag” which some falsely believe could prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection, has today denied ever making such a claim.

In a statement, it said the Antah Wellness “Defend” tag is no substitute for good personal hygiene and social distancing, and recommended users to adhere to the guidelines prescribed by our Ministry of Health (MOH) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“Antah Pharma would like to clarify that our product, Defend Tag DOES NOT claim to prevent the spread of Covid-19 nor is it a preventive device against potential contraction of Covid-19.

“Reports on social media that claim otherwise are misleading and untrue,” it said in a statement.

It said the tag contains 5g of sodium chlorite in a sachet that releases standardised chlorine dioxide gas, which it claimed is an anti-microbial agent.

Commenting on the use of the tag, the Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said earlier this week that the public should instead refer to the ministry amid the deluge of products and substances that are being peddled as cures to the pandemic.

This comes as MOH’s National Poison Centre also discredited the claim, saying the chlorine dioxide gas that is purportedly emitted by the tag is hardly noticeable.

Citing a study in the Japanese Journal of Environmental Infections, the centre said the gas trace has no effect in killing neither bacteria nor virus, let alone Covid-19.

It also pointed out that chlorine dioxide is a gas that can cause inflammation to the respiratory tract.

“What is worrying is the users’ trust in this product, which will cause them to feel safe and protected from the infection,” it said, adding that this will subsequently lead to them to be less cautious and do not abide by hygienic practises such as washing their hands.

The “health tag”, which among others is marketed as “Antah Wellness Defend Healthtag” or “Virus Shut Out”, are sold even at local pharmacy such as Watsons for RM59.90, and online marketplace such as Lazada and Shoppee.

Several social media posts have also alleged that the country’s top leaders are among its users, and have been pictured in public wearing them.

Formed in 1984, Antah Pharma Sdn Bhd distributes prescription drugs, proprietary drugs, and toiletries.

It is owned by Antah Healthcare Group, one of the country’s largest and oldest healthcare marketing and distribution companies.

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