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Recall of mercury-tainted proprietary Chinese medicine (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (October 10) ordered a licensed manufacturer of proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm), Peking Medicine Manufactory (Peking Medicine), to recall from consumers a batch (batch no.: AL0225) of [Tin Bo Tong] Bak Foong Pills (registration no.: HKP-03671) as it has been found to contain excessive mercury.

     The action is called for after a sample of the pCm obtained by DH officers during routine market surveillance was found by the Government Laboratory to contain about 1.7 times the permitted limit of mercury.

     The pCm is indicated for relieving menstrual discomfort.

     Initial investigation by the DH found that the pCm was manufactured by Peking Medicine. The manufacturer had also used the same batch of ingredients to manufacture five other pCms (batch no.: AL0225) with different pack sizes (see attachment). As a precautionary measure, the DH has instructed Peking Medicine to recall these five pCms.

     A DH spokesman explained that acute mercury poisoning can cause inflammation of the mouth, while prolonged exposure can damage the neurological system and kidneys. Young children are particularly vulnerable.

     The investigation is underway. No adverse reports related to the products have been received so far.

     Members of the public can call the manufacturer's hotline on 2407 4811 for enquiries. The DH will closely monitor the recall.

     "According to the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap 132), selling any drug not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the purchaser is liable to a maximum penalty of $10,000 and three months' imprisonment. Upon completion of the investigation, the DH will work with the Department of Justice for prosecution matters," the spokesman said.

     "The DH will also refer the case to the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong for taking possible disciplinary action," he added.

     The spokesman urged members of the public to stop using the above product immediately. Those who have purchased should submit the products to the Chinese Medicine Division of the DH at 16/F, Two Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon during office hours.

     Those who have used the products and are either unsure or feeling unwell should seek advice from their healthcare professionals as soon as possible.

Ends/Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:04


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