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Health warning issued over internet medicine buying
A warning about buying Chinese medicine online has been issued after health regulators said some contained “dangerously high” levels of lead, mercury and arsenic.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the unlicensed traditional Chinese medicines included some meant for children.
None have been authorised for use in the UK but investigators have found them readily available on the internet.
Now Dr Shirley Brierley, consultant in public health for Bradford Council, has issued a warning to local people about the dangers of buying online.
She said: “Buying any form of medicine over the internet isn’t advisable. It is difficult to find out whether the products are genuine, authorised treatments or unlicensed and dangerous.
“There have been recent concerns that some traditional Chinese medicines contain dangerously high levels of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic.
“We would urge people in Bradford to avoid products such as Bak Foong, advertised for period pains, and Hairegenerator, advertised for hair loss, which are still available on the internet despite being recalled by the Hong Kong authorities for their high concentration of heavy metals.
“Products called Niu-Huang Chieh-tu-pein, Divya Kaishore Guggul and Chandraprabha Vati, advertised for a variety of illnesses in young children, have also been found to contain extremely high levels of arsenic, according to the Swedish National Food Agency.
“All of these products are unlicensed and are not authorised for sale in the UK. We would urge anyone with a medical issue in the Bradford district to ask for help from a pharmacist or GP rather than taking a risk on products they have found online.”
One product, which goes by a variety of names, was found to have “extremely high” levels of arsenic by the Swedish National Food Agency. The product is called Niu-Huang Chieh-tu-pein, Divya Kaishore Guggul or Chandraprabha Vatiand and is used for treating mumps, sore throat, tonsillitis, toothache, skin infections and fever.