HCM CITY — HCM City Department of Health has seized quantities of fake or low quality oriental medicines circulating on the market.
The products were said to be contaminated with bacteria, illegally mixed with fresh medicine or had become mouldy.
Statistics from the National Institute for Medicine Testing showed that 10 per cent of 20,000 samples of oriental medicines checked across the country were either fake and substandard.
Products from Cao Nghia Duong, a maker of traditional medicine, were ordered off the shelves on March 25 after they were found to be damp.
On the same day, Soc Trang Department of Health announced that medicines produced by the Thuy Xuong manufacturer had a high level of contaminants.
According to current regulations, manufacturers are responsible for accurately labelling their own products and registering them with management agencies.
However, lax controls has led to the market being flooded by substandard products, eroding confidence in genuine medicines, said Pham Khanh Phong Lan, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Health.
Lan said 90 per cent of traditional medicines were illegally imported, mostly from China and Cambodia.
A decree has been issued stating that from 2014, medicine manufacturers must follow good manufacturing practices (GMP) if they want to continue operations.
Lan said the department will also ask the Ministry of Health to assign management offices to verify the quality of traditional medicines and to increase punishment levels.
Lan said the present fine of VND8 million (US$380) was not enough. — VNS