21 Aug 2008

Toxic medicine puts patient in hospital

12:21 pm on 21 August 2008

There are fears that Chinese medicines containing potentially fatal amounts of lead are being sold in New Zealand.

The Auckland Regional Public Health service says a man was taken to Middlemore Hospital with symptoms of dizziness, stomach pain, constipation and insomnia after taking a powdered Chinese medicine to treat his ulcers.

It was found he had a blood lead level more than 12 times the notifiable level for non-occupational sources of lead exposure.

The regional health service says a Chinese medical practitioner had given him a Chinese medicine powder, which consisted of 46% - 74% lead.

It says this is the first case of lead poisoning due to Chinese medicine it's been notified of.