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DH investigates case of proprietary Chinese medicine contaminated with alkaloids (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (July 29) appealed to members of the public not to consume a proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm), namely [Yang Family] Chuan Xin Lian Pian (registration number: HKP-00409) (batch number: 14617), as the above pCm was found to be contaminated with sophora alkaloids.

     Further to the DH's press release issued on July 22 related to a case of pCms contaminated with alkaloids, follow-up investigation revealed that one of the pCms involved, namely Pou Zai Siu Duk (transliteration), was indeed the registered pCm, [Yang Family] Chuan Xin Lian Pian. The Government Laboratory's testing on the samples of the above batch of pCm showed that they contained sophora alkaloids, which should not be present therein. The pCm was manufactured in the Mainland and imported by the registration holder, Yuen Fong Co., for local sale. As a precautionary measure,the company has voluntarily recalled all batches of the pCm from consumers.

     "According to the product's package insert, the pCm is used for influenza, sore throat and cough. Yuen Fong Co. has set up a hotline on 2811 4590 for related enquiries. We will closely monitor the recall," a spokesman for the DH said.

     "Sophora alkaloids, exist in Chinese herbal medicines such as Radix Sophorae Flavescentis, may cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting," the spokesman explained.

     While the DH's investigations are ongoing, no other patients feeling unwell after consuming the above pCm have been reported so far.

     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 and will also refer this case to the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong to consider taking possible disciplinary action.

     Members of the public who have purchased the pCm should stop taking it immediately. Those who have taken it and are feeling unwell should seek advice from healthcare professionals. People who have the pCm can submit it 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/Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:20


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