The Chinese Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has taken action against local suppliers found to be engaged in supplying substandard versions of the botanical, ginkgo biloba.
Ningbo Lihua Pharmaceutical Company supplied the sub-par materials to 24 Chinese food supplement and pharmaceutical manufacturers, the CFDA said. The agency issued a recall on all products using the extracts at the end of May and called for all products to be destroyed, according to Beijing-based Jeff Crowther, executive director of US-China Healthcare Products Association.
The CFDA raised the red flags because it took issue with hydrochloric acid extraction used in the batches instead of the traditional method – homeopathic alcohol.
Local authorities have been instructed to target ginkgo products and have them tested for unauthorised manufacturing processes. Firms that purchased the materials included Yunnan Baiyao and Xingda, according to local media reports. Yunnan Baiyao said it had purchased 6.9 tonnes but said it did not have to issue a recall of products as it did not formulate the extracts before the CFDA issued its warning. Other firms that purchased extracts include Shenzhen Neptunus Pharmaceutical, Wuxi Pharmaceutical, Jiang Su Runbang Pharmaceutical, Guangdong Global Pharmaceutical, Hunan Hansen Pharmaceutical and Yangtze River Pharmaceutical Group.
It is estimated more than 200 million tablets have been recalled. Despite the recalls, no adverse health effects were reported in relation to the extracts.Ginkgo is typically marketed for its energy-giving benefits and wellness benefits.