According to the Department of Health in Victoria (VicHealth), Australia, they have been notified that some Ayurvedic medicines for sale in grocery stores in Victoria contain ingredients – including lead – that are scheduled poisons. Some of these ingredients are prohibited for supply and use in Australia because they pose a danger to human health, according to VicHealth.
The VicHealth website says the Department has recently been informed that a range of Ayurvedic medications for sale in several grocery stores in Victoria contain:
- ingredients that are scheduled poisons, some of which are prohibited for supply and use in Australia because of the danger they pose to human health. Examples include Azadirachta indica (which may be identified as “neem” or “Veppilai”) and Acorus calamus (which may be identified as “Ghodbach”, “Vacha”, “Vasambu”, or “Vat Jata”)
- ingredients that may indicate the presence of heavy metals
Anyone taking Ayurvedic medicines imported from overseas or purchased in Victoria where the product does not have an ‘AUST R’ or ‘AUST L’ number on the packaging may be at risk. Some groups, such as children or pregnant women, may be at higher risk.
An ‘AUST R’ or ‘AUST L’ number on the packaging of products indicates that they are approved for supply by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. VicHealth has advised that anyone who is using Ayurvedic medicines purchased or imported from overseas or purchased in Victoria where the product does not have this number should stop consuming the product immediately.
There is no guarantee that complementary medicines purchased online, overseas or available in grocery stores that are not on the ARTG have been manufactured to Australian standards of safety and quality. These medicines may be contaminated with chemicals, contain illegal ingredients or have the wrong amount of active ingredient. This can lead to serious health consequences.
If anyone does want to purchase online, it’s important they carefully consider the risks involved and make sure the product is genuine and safe. Some websites may have fake Australian addresses and business identifiers (ABN or ACN). All business identifiers can be searched in either the Australian Business Register (ABR) or with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
Some online retailers may sell non-ARTG listed, out-of-date, low-quality, fake or even harmful medicines.