Two Chinese medicines pulled off shelves

Sale stopped, product batch recalled after high levels of arsenic found

The sale of a batch of two Chinese medicines was stopped after they were found to contain levels of arsenic that exceeded permitted levels.

The two medicines, Zhenzhu Shedan Chuanbeimo (珍珠蛇胆川貝末) and Huatan Zhike Chongcao Zhenzhu Chuanbeimo (化痰止咳虫草珍珠川貝末), bear the batch number T292.

Retailers have been instructed by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) to remove the affected stocks from their shelves.

Local distributor Tientsin Da Chong Trading is conducting a consumer recall of the affected batch and working with the HSA to investigate the matter.

The excessive levels of arsenic in these products were detected during a routine quality inspection by the HSA.

A minute amount of five parts per million (ppm) of arsenic is permitted in Chinese proprietary medicines.

However, laboratory tests detected arsenic levels of above eight ppm in both products.

There have been no reported adverse reactions from the consumption of the two products so far.

The medicines were manufactured by Kang Sheng Chinese Medicine Manufacturer and marketed locally by Tientsin.

Zhenzhu Shedan Chuanbeimo is used to treat high fever, cough, vomiting, phlegm and "clearing away heat and toxins", while Huatan Zhike Chongcao Zhenzhu Chuanbeimo is used to treat fever, fits, cough, vomiting and phlegm.

Both products may be used by infants and young children, who are more susceptible to the effects of arsenic.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg