Health Canada is advising Canadians not to consume Longdan or Lung Tan Xi Gan products since they may contain herbs with aristolochic acid. Aristolochic acid is considered carcinogenic and has been shown to cause mutations in human cells and end-stage kidney failure. Health Canada is working with the manufacturers, distributors and importers to recall these products in Canada. A customs alert has also been issued, to prevent the importation of these products into Canada. Health Canada first issued a warning on aristolochic acid in November 1999 that this ingredient posed a Class I Health Hazard with a potential to cause serious health effects or death.
Readers are referred to previous issues of the WHO Pharmaceuticals Newsletter (Nos. 2&3, 2001; Issue No. 1, 2002; Issue No. 2, 2002) for earlier reports on safety and regulatory measures on aristolochic acid-containing products in other countries.
Health Canada Warnings/Advisories, 16 May 2002. Available from URL: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca