Vietnam acts on human-flesh pill claims

TN News

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Vietnam's Ministry of Health said Wednesday it is checking to see if Chinese-made pills containing human flesh are present in the country following reports that such capsules had been found in South Korea.

In response to recent reports that South Korea's agencies have confiscated some 17,450 capsules allegedly containing human flesh from travelers' luggage and post packages, the Vietnamese ministry also warned local people against using drugs brought into the country by travelers, the origins of which are difficult to determine. 

In the meantime, Pham Khanh Phong Lan, vice director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health, told Tuoi Tre that local agencies have yet to find the capsules being sold here.

She said the health ministry's Drug Administration of Vietnam has not licensed such capsules, so if it they are found here, they have been smuggled.

In the meantime, China has announced that it will re-investigate South Korean allegations that the capsules are being made in China and imported to the south-eastern neighbor, AP quoted state media as saying Wednesday.

The pills are thought by many to cure various diseases and boost stamina.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Health spokesman Deng Haihua, an investigation launched in August last year found no evidence that the capsules are being produced in China.

South Korean authorities, however, say they have found Chinese-manufactured pills made with dead babies and fetuses that have been chopped into small pieces and dried on stoves before being turned into powder.

A report on Korea Times last week said local health authorities have launched an intensive crackdown on traffickers of the capsules, adding that since the smuggling was detected last August, 29 smugglers have been apprehended.

It quoted the Korea Customs Service as saying that the capsule is mainly used by terminal cancer patients and Chinese laborers in the country. One such pill is sold for 40,000 won (US$35) in South Korea.

Korean tests showed that that the pills contain super bacteria and other elements harmful to human health.

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