Sunday, November 16, 2008

Herbal medicine

I have been thought that the chinese traditional medicine from herbal is typically safe. However, recent discussions with my friends make me extremely nervous about the safety of the herbal medicine. The recent report (see below) is just one of the examples. The reason could be in multifold: 1) the safety is rarely tested in human trials; 2) counterfeit or shoddily made medications ; 3) the original herbal was now grown and harvested in total different climate/environment - the ingredient might be different from the original intended ingredient, some could be toxical. 4) contamination of the herbal raw materials.

China recalls hemorrhoid medicine
The Associated Press
Published: November 12, 2008
BEIJING: China's drug regulator ordered a nationwide recall of a hemorrhoid medicine Wednesday because of concerns it may cause liver problems.
The State Food and Drug Administration said in a statement on its Web site that it had ordered Vital Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd., based in Sichuan Province, to stop producing Zhixue capsules and begin a nationwide recall. Twenty-one people around the country developed liver problems after taking the medicine in recent months.
"An obvious connection can be found between the hemorrhoid medicine and the liver damage after case analysis, but the cause of the adverse reactions remains unknown," the statement said.

China's pharmaceutical industry is highly lucrative but poorly regulated, resulting in some companies using fake or substandard ingredients. In recent years, a string of fatalities blamed on counterfeit or shoddily made medications has been reported.
Several herbal medicines have been recalled in recent months because of suspicions they have caused deaths, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The recalls come as China tries to reassure consumers over a scandal involving the spread of the industrial chemical melamine into the food chain, the latest incident to mar its already troubled product safety record.

No comments: