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Recall of proprietary Chinese medicines with undeclared aconitum alkaloids (with photos)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (February 5) ordered a licensed wholesaler of proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm), Fung Wah (Hong Kong) Company (operated by Honour Essence Trading Limited), to recall from consumers five pCms, namely Yunnan Baiyao capsules (registration number: HKP-00776; batch number: 48911104), Yunnan Baiyao powder (registration number: HKP-00775; batch number: 48971012), Yunnan Baiyao plaster (registration number: HKP-00255; batch number: 48971204), Yunnan Baiyao aerosol (registration number: HKP-00777; batch number: 48971107) and Yunnan Baiyao tincture (registration number: HKP-00805; batch number: 20110101C), as they have been found to contain undeclared aconitum alkaloids.

     The action was called for upon the DH's investigation into intelligence received. Samples of the above pCms were found to contain undeclared aconitum alkaloids by the Government Laboratory today. According to the products' registration details and the Chinese medicine literature, the ingredients in the products could not account for the presence of aconitum alkaloids as detected.

     Preliminary investigation found that the products were manufactured in the Mainland and imported by Fung Wah, and released to the local market for sale. Information also revealed that there are two other related pCms manufactured by the same Mainland manufacturer and imported by Fung Wah, namely ¡iYunnan Baiyao¡j Woundplast (registration number: HKNT-16106) and ¡iYunnan Baiyao¡j Aerosol (Twin pack) (registration number: HKNT-16493). As a precautionary measure, Fung Wah has also voluntarily recalled both pCms and other batches of the five above-mentioned pCms.

     The products were indicated mainly for traumatic injury and muscle pain. Aconitum alkaloids can be toxic. If used improperly, aconitum alkaloids can cause discomfort like numbness of the mouth and limbs, nausea, vomiting and peripheral weakness, and even lead to life-threatening conditions like breathing difficulties and cardiac arrhythmia.

     So far no adverse event related to the use of the products has been reported to the DH. The DH has notified the Mainland drug authority for follow-up. Investigation is ongoing.

     Members of the public can call Fung Wah's hotline at 2553 2170 for enquiries. The DH will closely monitor the recall.

     According to the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132, Laws of Hong Kong), 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. On completion of the investigation, the DH will work with the Department of Justice for prosecution matters. The DH will also refer the case to the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong for taking possible disciplinary action.

     The DH urged members of the public to stop using the products immediately. Those who have used the products and feel unwell should seek advice from their health-care professionals. People who have the products should submit them to the Chinese Medicine Division of the DH on 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, during office hours.

Ends/Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:03


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