26 July 2014
NSW Health pharmaceutical inspectors have seized 30 bottles of a traditional Indian medicine from three Indian grocery stores in the Campsie area today following the lead poisoning of a Sydney woman.
 
Dr Leena Gupta, Director of Public Health, Sydney Local Health District, said the woman became unwell after returning from a recent visit to India.

“After seeing her GP, tests showed that the woman had a mildly elevated blood lead level,” Dr Gupta said. 

“Further investigations revealed she had been using a traditional Indian Ayurvedic (PRON: EYE-uh-VED-ick) medicine which is known to be associated with heavy metal contamination.

“NSW Health is warning the public about the risks of this type of complementary medicine which can be readily sourced from local ethnic grocery stores or overseas.

“Testing of samples of Ayurvedic medicine – from both Sydney based retailers and overseas by NSW Health - found heavy metal contamination and arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. The overseas samples had particularly high levels of mercury.

“As well as the 30 bottles of the Ayurvedic tablets, NSW Health pharmaceutical inspectors also seized other non-registered medicines from the three stores.” 
 
Dr Gupta said complementary medicines sold in Australia are subject to regulation by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

“NSW Health has informed the TGA of the findings of these investigations,” she said.
 
“Consumers need to be aware that safety, quality and effectiveness cannot be assured if the products have not been approved by the TGA. They should also be cautious about purchasing these types of products from overseas, including over the internet

“NSW Health advises people in possession of non-approved Ayurvedic medicines not to consume them and to discard them.

“If you’ve experienced unusual side-effects during or after taking traditional Ayurvedic medicine, visit your GP for an assessment.”

For further information on buying medicines over the internet or Ayurvedic medicines, visit The National Prescribing Service​ and the Therapeutic Goods Administration​ website.
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Page Updated: Monday 28 July 2014