Sun Sep 24 05:03:28 SAST 2017

SA men urged to abstain from using rhino horn aphrodisiacs

By SowetanLIVE | 2016-09-29 13:07:22.0

South African consumers were urged to stop buying rhino horn aphrodisiacs during this week’s 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17).

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the meeting is currently underway at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg till October 5.

The illegal trade of sexual stimulants containing rhino horn and animal parts of other endangered species, continues to this day and is stamping out the world’s dwindling rhino population, among others. 

Tumi Motsei, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics – a trusted provider of generic erectile dysfunction (ED) medication says millions of counterfeit ED treatments are seized around the globe each year.

“Annually, SARS confiscates more than 200 000 black market ED drugs at an estimated value of R21-million. Law enforcement officials also say more and more criminals are sourcing these drugs online and selling them illegally at local pubs and clubs,” she warned.

Many cultures from around the world still believe that rhino horn is a cure for impotence and all sorts of other ailments, including hangovers, typhoid, gout, hallucinations and cancer, though this is not true. 

Most male sexual enhancement pills are ordered online from websites in India, Malawi, the UK and Hong Kong, and go by explicit names such as Love4Long, Boss Rhino Gold, Anaconda strong and Golden Root.

With so many side-effects associated with taking fake erection drugs, why do so many South Africans continue to buy these drugs illegally over the Internet?

“The problem is two-fold,” says Motsei, “firstly, people are offered ED drugs at a fraction of the price that they sell them for at licensed pharmacies and secondly, it’s a condition which men are often too embarrassed to discuss with their doctor. Counterfeit drug manufacturers take advantage of this vulnerability by making their products available without prescription. This then allows men to access prescription medication without seeking appropriate medical advice.

“There are literally hundreds of online websites where sexual enhancement pills can be bought for as little as R9 a tablet,” she says.

Motsei warns that ED drugs should never be taken unless it is recommended by a doctor. In combination with nitrates used to treat cardiovascular conditions, it can prove fatal.

“There has been no scientific evidence which supports the medicinal value of powdered rhino horn in the treatment of ED or any other illness. In fact, studies have confirmed it’s just as ineffective as fingernails,” .

The studies she refers to is research which was released by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1983, which found no evidence that rhino horn has any medical value.

It confirmed that rhino horn is made of agglutinated hair and has no analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmolytic and no diuretic properties. No bactericidal effect could also be found against suppuration and intestinal bacteria.

Conservationists had hoped that the rising popularity of prescription ED medication, such as sildenafil would reduce the demand for rhino horns, but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case.

Last year was the worst year recorded to date for rhino pouching in Africa, with over 1 300 rhinos killed, mostly in South Africa.

Motsei advised that since erectile dysfunction is so common it is important  that you find out what is causing it in you. Medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and hormonal problems could also result in ED. So it is best to consult a doctor and not buy drugs online, should you be offered these drugs call the police.

Illegal wildlife trade is valued at around $20 billion a year (about R278 billion at R13.91/$), according to CITES, and is ranked the fourth largest illicit business in the world after arms, counterfeit goods and human trafficking.

The Convention will be in Sandton till the 5th of October.