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Further recall of mercury-tainted proprietary Chinese medicines

     Upon further investigation into the case of mercury-tainted proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm) manufactured by the licensed manufacturer Peking Medicine Manufactory (Peking Medicine), the Department of Health (DH) today (October 17) instructed this manufacturer to extend its recall to include another batch (batch no.: AL0107) of pCm, [Yan Chai Tong] Reishi Bak Foong Pills (registration no.: HKP-02931), as it has also been found to contain excessive mercury.

     Today's move followed the DH's announcement on October 10 on the recall of a mercury-tainted pCm, [Tin Bo Tong] Bak Foong Pills, and five other pCms produced from the same batch of ingredients. Samples of other pCms manufactured by Peking Medicine were also obtained for chemical analysis by the Government Laboratory, which found that [Yan Chai Tong] Reishi Bak Foong Pills contained about three times the permitted limit of mercury.

     The pCm is indicated for relieving menstrual discomfort.

     Investigation by the DH found that Peking Medicine had also used the same batch of ingredients to manufacture eight other pCms (batch no.: AL0107) with different pack sizes (see attachment). The DH has instructed Peking Medicine to recall all nine 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 under way. 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," the spokesman added.

     The spokesman urged members of the public to stop using the above products immediately. Those who have purchased them 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 feel unwell should seek advice from their health-care professionals as soon as possible.

Ends/Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:55


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