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Recall of improperly labelled proprietary Chinese medicine (with photos)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (April 26) ordered a licensed manufacturer of proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm) and product holder, Luen Hing Hong, to recall all batches of three pCms, namelyĦiPak On TongĦjRadix Pseud Ginseng Medicated Wine (registration no: HKP-00331),ĦiKam Yu PaiĦjRadix Pseud Ginseng Medicated Wine (HKP-00332) andĦiFa Lam PaiĦjRadix Pseud Ginseng Medicated Wine (HKP-00333), from shops as they were found to be improperly labelled during market surveillance.

     "These three products shared the same formula and were manufactured by Luen Hing Hong locally. Unprocessed Semen Strychni, a Chinese herbal medicine (Chm) specified in Schedule 1 of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (CMO), which is one of the active ingredients in the pCm formula, was found to be missing in the labels or package inserts of these products. Chm specified in Schedule 1 of CMO are known to be more potent and contain toxic ingredients, hence such ingredients are required to be listed on the label and package insert of a pCm according to the registration requirements," a DH spokesman said.

     "These pCm are claimed to be used topically for relieving muscle pain and sprains. Unprocessed Semen Strychni contains strychnine and brucine, excessive exposure to which may cause symptoms including headache, dizziness, agitation, shortness of breath and muscle spasm. In severe cases, the affected patient may suffer from convulsions, asphyxiation or even death. Though the pCm is used topically, literature revealed that excessive use may still pose poisonous effects through skin absorption. Thus, we consider it prudent to alert the public about the possible side effects.

     "So far no known related adverse incident report has been received. Members of the public can call the product holder's hotline at 2873 0594 for related enquiries. The DH will continue investigation and closely monitor the recall," the spokesman said.

     "According to Section 143 and 144 of the CMO (Cap 549), no person shall sell any pCm that is not labelled or without a package insert in the prescribed manner. The maximum penalty is $100,000 and two years' imprisonment. The DH will seek the Department of Justice's advice on completion of our investigation.

     "Members of the public who have used the product should consult their healthcare providers if in doubt or feeling unwell.

     "Should any person possess the above mentioned pCm, they ought to submit it to the Chinese Medicine Division of the DH at 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, during office hours for disposal," the spokesman added.

Ends/Friday, April 26, 2013
Issued at HKT 20:02


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