Judge Jeremy Roberts has called for the government to regulate traditional Chinese medicines after a so-called doctor who sold those medicines walked free even after they were found to cause cancer.
Ying "Susan" Wu sold "Xie Gan Wan" tablets to Patricia Booth, who took them for five years to treat a skin condition. However the drugs destroyed her kidneys and caused cancer to boot. Wu sold the medications at the Chinese Herbal Medical Centre in Chelmsford. Mrs Booth took ill after stopping the medicines and developed urinary tract cancer. Examination of the pills revealed that they contained aristolochic acid, which is a banned substance.
However Wu was allowed to walk free as this is an unregulated industry in the UK.
"It is an unfortunate fact that there is no system in this country to regulate Chinese herbal medicine retailers like Ms Wu by requiring them to be registered with an appropriate professional body or trade association," said Judge Jeremy Roberts. "Somebody like Ms Wu is entitled to set up shop as a herbal medicine retailer and to operate entirely unsupervised.There may be a gap in our law here which the Government might wish to address."