Skeptic News: Contaminated TCM

From: English Eastday

A BRANCH of a Shanghai pharmaceutical firm is one of 12 medicine companies undergoing investigation for such violations as dying Chinese herbs, using industrial chemicals to add weight and mixing counterfeit ingredients into traditional Chinese medicines.

The branch of Shanghai Yaofang Pharmaceutical Co in Bozhou, Anhui Province, was ordered to suspend production along with another seven Anhui companies

for the most serious violations, according to Anhui Province Food and Drug Administration. Four other companies accused of less serious violations were not shut down.

China’s State Food and Drug Administration issued a notice to the regional FDA office over the weekend, calling for stricter management as some unapproved herbs had been put into circulation and used for TCM drug production.

The eight companies, including Bozhou Xuzhongdao Traditional Chinese Medicine Co of Shanghai Yaofang, were found using auramine O, an industrial dye for Chinese herbs, and using aluminum salt and magnesium salt to make TCM materials heavier.

According to SFDA, Chinese herbs are the basis of TCM production, sales and use. Dying, adding weight and mixing with counterfeit materials can result in safety risks. These companies’ violations were very serious, SFDA said.

National authorities have ordered the regional FDA to tighten the supervision on TCM production and sales, preventing such unapproved materials to be used in clinical practice or in TCM drug production.

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