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Voluntary recall of Chinese medicines (with photos)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (August 3) endorsed the voluntary recall of all batches of 16 Sheng Foong Brand Chinese herbal products (see Table) from shelves by a local licensed wholesaler of proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm) and Chinese herbal medicines, Han-Fang Chinese Medicine Company Limited (HF).

     The company decided that the move would be a necessary precaution to facilitate the DH's investigation after the Macao Health Bureau (MHB) found two plasticisers, Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP), in some of the brand's drugs on sale in Macau.

     A DH spokesman said, "We initiated investigation immediately upon receiving the MHB's notification late last night. A total of 21 Sheng Foong Brand Chinese herbal products are undergoing a recall in Macau. HF's sales records show that 16 of the 21 products, comprising 15 pCms and one Chinese herb, are in fact imported by HF from Taiwan both for re-export to Macau and for sale here. However, it is known that the batches are distinct for the two locations."

     The spokesman then explained that DBP and DIBP are plasticisers. While their safety in humans is not well established and data on animal studies showed acute oral toxicity to be low, he cautioned that chronic high-dose exposure may cause reproductive and developmental problems, and even birth defects in animals in laboratory testing.

     "Thus, though the DH has not received any report of adverse incidents related to the use of the above products, we have conducted site inspection at HF and have also taken samples for Government Laboratory analysis. Moreover, HF is acting responsibly by also voluntarily suspending its trading of the 16 products besides recalling them from the market," the spokesman stated.

     It is understood that HF has set up a hotline at 2388 5988 for related public enquiries.  

     "While the DH is continuing with the investigation, those who have used any of the products under the recall and are feeling unwell or in doubt should seek advice from their health-care providers," the spokesman remarked.

Ends/Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Issued at HKT 18:46


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