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Recall of heavy metal-tainted and drug-tainted proprietary Chinese medicines (with photos)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (March 5)urged the public not to buy or use two proprietary Chinese medicines (pCms) because they were found, during market surveillance, tainted by heavy metal and undeclared western medicine respectively.

     The first one is [Chung Lien Kulin Brand] Anshen Bunao Pian (registration number: HKP-00253), which has been found by the Government Laboratory to contain excessive level of mercury that is about 55 times the permitted level of mercury. It was manufactured in the Mainland and imported by a licenced pCm wholesaler, Fung Wah (HK) Company (operated by Honour Essence Trading Limited). This pCm is used for treating restlessness and insomnia symptoms in adult.

     Another one is [Chung Lien] Bi Yan Pian (registration number: HKP-08747), which was found by the Government Laboratory to contain trace amount of paracetamol. It was imported by Kin Kwok Trading Co and produced also by the same manufacturer in the Mainland. This pCm is indicated for treating rhinitis symptoms.

     "Acute mercury poisoning can cause inflammation of mouth, while prolonged exposure can damage the neurological system and kidney. Paracetamol is a pharmaceutical product that has long been used for its anti-pyretic and analgesic effect. So far, no adverse event related to consumption of these two pCms has been reported to DH," a DH spokesman said.

     "Both pCms are directly imported by the two wholesalers from the Mainland and no secondary packaging was found during field investigations. Therefore any contamination would unlikely to have occurred in their premises. The two pCms will be recalled immediately from consumers by the wholesalers. Moreover, the drug authority in the Mainland has also been notified," the spokesman remarked.

     Fung Wah (HK) Company and Kin Kwok Trading Co have set up recall hotlines at 3622 1799 and 2379 6886 respectively.

     While DH will be monitoring the recall, investigation continues.

     "Here, contravention of Section 54 of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance Cap. 132, selling a drug intended for use by man but unfit for that purpose, might have occurred. The maximum penalty involved is $50,000 and six months' imprisonment. We will work with the Department of Justice regarding possible prosecution on completion of our investigation," the spokesman added.

     "Members of the public who have used the product and are either unsure or feeling unwell should seek advice from their health-care professionals. They should stop using the above products immediately if they have them in their possession. They ought to submit them to the Chinese Medicine Division of the DH at 16/F, Two Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, during office hours," the spokesman further advised.

Ends/Monday, March 5, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:18


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