Medicine Adulteration Scandal Leads To Quality Check Call

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15th May 2009, 08:03am - Views: 1482

Random product testing by federal regulators and the creation and strict

enforcement of minimum quality standards has been called for by the Australian

marketer of a German Ginkgo biloba product.

The call by Natural Health Products, the importer of EGb 761 Tebonin, follows the

revelation that six of 20 Ginkgo biloba listed medicines tested by the Therapeutic

Goods Administration had been found to be adulterated with chemicals that caused

them to appear to be of better quality than they actually were.

The problem is believed to have been caused by the importation of Chinese Ginkgo

biloba, which had been adulterated at source to allow the suppliers to charge top

dollar for rubbish.

NHP managing director John Waitzer said the only way to overcome the problem of

adulterated medicines was for the TGA to test at random products taken from

pharmacy shelves.

Mr Waitzer said he was disappointed by the TGA’s reported response to the


“There is the matter of people buying what is advertised as a Ginkgo biloba product

that in reality is so weak or so adulterated that it is of no therapeutic benefit,” Mr

Waitzer said.

“That’s misrepresentation, it’s ripping off the public.

“We believe that the TGA should be concerned with the quality and efficacy of all

listed medicines as a matter of vital public interest.”

Mr Waitzer called on the TGA to adopt for natural medicines a set of standards that

would dictate minimum standards for purity and potency.

He suggested that the TGA could save time and money if it looked to the German

Commission E standards as a model.

“The Germans have already done the work. There’s no sense in reinventing the

wheel,” Mr Waitzer said.

He said that his company’s Ginkgo biloba product, EGb 761 Tebonin, was

manufactured in Germany to strict purity and potency standards.

“That’s why you can find so much published research on Tebonin if you Google it,”

he said.

“Ginkgo biloba is a useful natural medicine, but there has to be enough potency for it

to have a therapeutic dose.

“The same applies to all medicines, whether they be over the counter or


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