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Total recall of mercury-tainted proprietary Chinese medicine (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (May 8) ordered a licensed wholesaler of a proprietary Chinese medicine, Kin Kwok Trading Co (Kin Kwok), to recall from consumer a registered proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm), [Hu Qiu] Niu Huang Xiao Yan Wan (registration no: HKP-09321), as it has been found to contain excessive mercury.

     "The action is called for after a routine surveillance sample of the above pCm obtained by DH inspectors was found by the Government Laboratory to contain about 63 times the permitted limit of mercury," a DH spokesman said.

     "Initial investigation by DH found that [Hu Qiu] Niu Huang Xiao Yan Wan was manufactured in the Mainland and imported by Kin Kwok," he continued.

     The DH spokesman explained that the drug was known to be used for the management of discomfort and pain of throat. Acute mercury poisoning can cause inflammation of the mouth while prolonged exposure can damage the neurological system and kidneys. Young children are particularly vulnerable.

     "While investigation continues, DH has inspected the premises of Kin Kwok and no apparent source of the contamination on the pCm was noted," the spokesman added.

     The matter has been referred to the Mainland's drug regulatory authority for their continued investigation.

     Members of the public can call the wholesaler's hotline at 2379 6886 for related enquiries. DH will closely monitor the recall.

     "Here, contravention of section 54 of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, Cap 132, Laws of Hong Kong, 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 for prosecution matters," said the spokesman.

     The spokesman urges those members of the public who have purchased the product to stop using it immediately and surrender the product to DH at 16/F, Two Landmark East, Kwun Tong, Kowloon.

     For those who have used the product and feel unwell, they should seek advice from their healthcare providers as soon as possible. So far, DH has not received any adverse report related to the product.

Ends/Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:26


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