8 November 2012
The Department of Health (DH) today (November 8) ordered a licensed manufacturer of proprietary Chinese medicine (pCm), Wah Shun Medicine Limited, to recall from shelves a batch (batch number: 8011 WP1) of a pCm called [W.S.] Shi Hu Ye Guang Wan (Ye Guang Wan) (registration number: HKP-03387), as it has been found to contain excessive lead.
The action was called for after a sample of Ye Guang Wan obtained in the DH's routine market surveillance was found to contain about 1.3 times the permitted limit of lead by the Government Laboratory.
"Preliminary investigation by the DH found that Ye Guang Wan was manufactured in the Mainland. Wah Shun only performed external packaging after import and released the product to the local market for sale," a DH spokesman said.
"The DH's investigation also revealed that Ye Guang Wan shared the same formula with another pCm, [W.S.] Nai Chang Ming Yan Pills (Ming Yan Pills) (registration number: HKP-01836), which was also manufactured by the same manufacturer in the Mainland, imported at the same time, and packaged by Wah Shun in Hong Kong. As a precautionary measure, the DH instructed Wah Shun to recall Ming Yan Pills (batch number: 8011 NY1) as well."
The spokesman explained that both pCms were indicated mainly for improving vision in adults. Prolonged exposure to excessive lead could cause anaemia and damage to human organs including joints, the brain and kidneys.
"While the investigation is continuing, so far no adverse event related to the consumption of the said pCms has been reported to the DH. The DH has notified the Mainland drug authority to follow up," the spokesman added.
Members of the public can call Wah Shun's hotline at 2571 0775 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 investigation, the DH will work with the Department of Justice for prosecution matters. The DH will also refer this case to the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong for taking possible disciplinary action," the spokesman remarked.
The spokesman urged members of the public to stop using the above pCms immediately. Those who have used the pCms 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 at 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, during office hours.