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Recall of Western-drug-tainted proprietary Chinese medicine (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (September 27) ordered a licensed proprietary Chinese medicines importer and wholesaler, Tachio Trading Company, to recall its product Gan Mao Qing Capsules (registration number: HKP-02662) from shelves after the Department's surveillance programme detected a trace amount of paracetamol, a Western drug, in a sample of the product purchased from the market.

     Gan Mao Qing Capsules is manufactured in the Mainland for the relief of common cold and flu symptoms. The contaminated batch 113004 was imported into Hong Kong for sale this May.

     The contaminant, paracetamol, is a pharmaceutical product that has long been commonly used for its anti-pyretic and analgesic effects.

     "Initial investigation by the DH revealed that although Tachio was responsible for secondary packaging of the said product here, contamination was unlikely as the product was never exposed," a DH spokesman remarked.

     "Given that in the Mainland, mixing of Western and Chinese drug ingredients is not uncommon, and although the amount involved here is only a trace, both intentional addition or cross-contamination could be possibilities. In any case, the matter has been referred to our Mainland counterpart for assessment and necessary follow-up."

     While the DH's target is the contaminated batch, Tachio has volunteered to recall all batches of the drug in order to avoid market confusion. It has already set up a hotline, 2363 6806, for related enquiries. The DH will be monitoring the recall in addition to continuing with the investigation.

     "We can confirm that the DH has not received any report of adverse incidents in connection. However, contravention of Section 52(1) of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance Cap. 132, selling any drug not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the purchaser, might have occurred here. The maximum penalty involved is $10,000 and three months' imprisonment. We will work with the Department of Justice for prosecution consideration on completion of our investigation," the spokesman stated.

     "Members of the public who have used the product and are either unsure or feeling unwell should seek advice from their health-care professionals," the spokesman advised.

Ends/Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Issued at HKT 19:15


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