Chinese medicine doctors, supplier indicted over toxic prescriptions

12/02/2020 11:25 PM
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The Sheng Tang Chinese Medicine Clinic. CNA file photo
The Sheng Tang Chinese Medicine Clinic. CNA file photo

Taichung, Dec. 2 (CNA) Two traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and a supplier, all based in Taichung, have been indicted in a case of poisoning that caused at least eight people to fall ill in August, Taiwan Taichung District Prosecutors Office said Wednesday.

The three individuals, who are currently in detention, were found to have violated the Physicians Act (醫師法), the office said, naming them as Sheng Tang Chinese Medicine Clinic chief practitioner Lu Shih-ming (呂世明), Jin Fu Chinese Medicine Clinic practitioner Hung Chang-hung (洪彰宏), and Ou Kuo-liang (歐國樑), head of the supply company Hsin Lung Medicine Co.

The case first came to light in early August when Taichung City Councilor Chang Yen-tung (張彥彤) and members of his family were diagnosed with lead poisoning and hospitalized for a month, after taking traditional Chinese medicine prescribed by Lu.

The family members included Chang's father, former Taichung City Council Speaker Chang Hung-nien (張宏年), and two others, who had been taking the medicine for a long time and had developed abdominal pains, according to prosecutors.

When tested by Taichung's Health Bureau, the medicine was found to contain excessive levels of lead and mercury.

Meanwhile, four members of another family, who also had been taking traditional Chinese medicine prescribed by Hung for more than two years, reported that high levels of heavy metals had been found in their blood, prosecutors said.

Law enforcement officers subsequently carried out a search at the Sheng Tang, Jiu Fu and Hsin Lung premises, prosecutors said.

A preliminary investigation found that the two doctors at the clinics and the supplier had violated pharmaceutical laws, the Taichung District Prosecutors Office said, adding that it obtained a court order on Aug. 7 to arrest them and hold them incommunicado.

The three people have been indicted and will face trail at a later date, the office said.

(By Su Mu-chun and Chung Yu-chen)

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