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DH investigates case of proprietary Chinese medicine tainted with Western drug ingredient (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) is today (April 18) investigating a case of a proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm), namely [Great Wall Brand] Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Pien (registration number: HKP-00056, batch number: MH-151) tainted with a Western drug ingredient, paracetamol.

     A sample of the above pCm from the DH's market surveillance was found to contain a trace amount of paracetamol upon testing by the Government Laboratory. Preliminary investigations revealed that the above pCm had been manufactured in the Mainland and imported by its registration holder, Ming Wah Co for local sale. Ming Wah has voluntarily recalled the above-mentioned batch of the pCm from consumers.

     According to the product label, the above pCm is indicated for relieving symptoms of fever, headache and cough. Ming Wah has set up a hotline (2562 6129) for related enquiries.

     "In general, pCms sold in Hong Kong should not contain Western drug ingredients. We will closely monitor the recall. So far, no adverse reports related to the use of the above pCm have been received. Investigations are ongoing," a spokesman for the DH said.

     According to the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (CMCHK), there are now 55 other pCms bearing Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Pien in Chinese as the product name. Investigations so far indicated that these 55 pCms were not related to [Great Wall Brand] Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Pien.

     "Paracetamol is commonly used for its anti-pyretic and analgesic effects. Inappropriate use may cause liver and kidney damage. If the above pCm is taken according to the labelled recommended dose, the risk posed to consumers is considered to be low," the spokesman explained.

     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 CMCHK to consider taking possible disciplinary action.

     Members of the public who have purchased the above pCm should stop using it immediately. Those who have used the above pCm and feel unwell should seek advice from healthcare professionals. People who have the above pCm should 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/Monday, April 18, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:25


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