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DH instructs recall of lead-tainted proprietary Chinese medicine (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (November 10) instructed Ta Ang Pharmaceutical Co., the registration holder of a proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm) called [Cow's Head Brand] Tung Shueh Pills (registration number: HKP-05209), to recall from consumers one of its batches (batch number: 010313) as a sample had been found to contain excessive lead.

     The action was taken after a sample of Tung Shueh Pills obtained from the DH's market surveillance was found by the Government Laboratory to contain about 1.5 times the limit of lead under the registration criteria of pCms. In addition, preliminary investigation showed that two other pCms, namely [Cow's Head Brand] Tung Xue Pills (registration number: HKP-05203) and [Cow's Head Brand] Fong Ton Pills (registration number: HKP-11623) shared the same formula as Tung Shueh Pills and were made by the same Mainland manufacturer and imported by Ta Ang. Ta Ang then did the external packaging before the pills were distributed to the local market for sale. As a precautionary measure, Ta Ang has also voluntarily recalled all batches of the above three pCms from consumers.

     "The ingredients of the above pCms do not include any Chinese herbal medicine that is known to be rich in lead. Ta Ang has set up hotline (2545 2218) for related enquiries. The DH will closely monitor the recall," a spokesman for the DH said.

     "According to their labels, the three pCms are used for circulation of blood and strengthening bones and muscles. Prolonged exposure to excessive lead could cause anaemia and damage to human organs including joints, brain and kidneys. Young children are particularly vulnerable. So far, no adverse reports related to the use of the above pCms have been received by the DH. The DH's investigation is ongoing," the spokesman added.

     According to section 52 of 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 a fine of $10,000 and three months' imprisonment. Upon completion of the investigation, the DH will work with the Department of Justice on prosecution matters. The DH will also refer this case to the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong for possible disciplinary action.

     Members of the public who have purchased the above pCms should stop using them immediately. Those who have used the above pCms and feel unwell should seek advice from their healthcare professionals. People who have the above pCms should submit them to the DH's Chinese Medicine Division on 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, during office hours for disposal.

Ends/Monday, November 10, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:59


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