Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Health Canada draws blank on tainted herbal sleep medicine

Health Canada does not know how powerful prescription tranquilizers ended up in herbal sleep-aid products, and on Canadian shelves.

Nearly two years after 55-year-old Michael Berggren died in a single-vehicle rollover after unwittingly taking prescription estazolam in a herbal sleep medicine, the government has learned little about who tainted the herbal remedies, where they did it, or how.

"While some of the raw materials in four of the products were imported by the same supplier, Health Canada cannot confirm at which point in the manufacturing process the products became adulterated with this controlled substance," spokesman Alastair Sinclair wrote in an e-mail to the Edmonton Journal.

"These products may have been imported into Canada or they may have been manufactured in Canada with imported raw materials."

Sinclair did not say what the government has done to identify the source of the illegal drugs, nor what inspectors have done to figure out who is adding them to herbal remedies. ...more

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