Campaigners have called for stricter regulation of the herbal medicine industry after a Chinese herbal “doctor” admitted selling pills which resulted in a civil servant developing cancer.
The Old Bailey heard how Ying Wu sold “Xie Gan Wan” tablets to Patricia Booth for more than five years for a skin condition.
However, the tiny brown pills, far from alleviating any of Mrs Booth’s symptoms, eventually destroyed her kidneys and led to the 58-year-old developing cancer.
Although Wu pleaded guilty to a series of lesser counts in relation to the sale of the pills, the judge at the Old Bailey threw out a more serious charge of “administering a noxious substance” on the grounds that there was no evidence to suggest she knew the pills would cause any harm.
The decision has prompted the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine to call for stricter controls on the herbal medicine market.
The case highlighted “the urgent need for the statutory regulation of herbal medicine in the UK”, it said.
Ms Wu is due to be sentenced later.