Tag Archives: ginseng

Medicinal Ginseng Recall Expanded

Wandashan Pharmaceutical recalled all its products taken by injection on Friday, following three deaths of users of its medicinal gingseng. The move was announced by the State Food and Drug Administration today. Sales and use of Wandashan’s ginseng products had already been stopped.

We noted earlier that the deaths, which occurred at the beginning of October, might turn into another product safety issue on the heels of the melamine-tainted dairy products scandal (See: “New Figures For Melamine-Related Illness“). The pharmaceutical industry is highly lucrative but, like the dairy industry, poorly regulated, and rife with counterfeit or shoddily made medicines. Bacteria contamination is thought to be the cause of the deaths in question.

Xinhua says the injection, based on a type of Siberian ginseng, is often used to treat thrombosis and is also believed to be a helpful remedy for coronary heart disease.

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New Figures For Melamine-Related Illnesses

China had stopped updating the figures for the number of babies sickened after drinking melamine-contaminated infant formula. Last commonly quoted numbers were four dead and 53,000 hospitalized. But in announcing new permissible levels of melamine in foods on Wednesday, the Health Ministry said that 10,066 children remained hospitalized with eight in serious condition. No new deaths had been recorded.

The new guidelines on melamine levels allow one part per million in infant formula and 2.5 parts per million in other foodstuffs containing at least 15% milk. Those levels are in line with international standards. Melamine levels found in tainted batches of infant formula in China have been as high as 6,000 parts per million. The Health Ministry says trace amounts of the chemical can leach into products from packaging and the environment. Trace amounts should be harmless to humans. Cutting melamine into foods remains illegal, the ministry says.

Next health scandal to watch? BBC reports that three people have died after receiving herbal ginseng injections in Yunnan. The ginseng injection was manufactured by Wandashan Pharmaceutical, based in Heilongjiang. The BC report quotes the State Food and Drug Administration as saying it has isolated two problematic batches of the extract, made from a herb called “ciwujia”, and has urged immediate nationwide reporting of any adverse effects.

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