Traditional medicine Tie Da Zhi Tong Gao found to contain scheduled poison

Irwan Shafrizan Ismail

PUTRAJAYA: Traditional Chinese topical medicine Tie Da Zhi Tong Gao has been found to contain the scheduled poison Diphenhydramine – leading the Health Ministry to immediately cancel its product registration.

Tie Da Zhi Tong Gao – a topical paste – had been marketed as providing relief for bruises and sprains, as well as muscle and joint pains.

Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine which reduces allergic reactions – but when applied topically, leads to rashes, itchiness and sensitivity to light – which is why it is controlled under the Poisons Act 1952 and can only be prescribed by doctors and pharmacists.

The Health Ministry’s director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the selling and distribution of the product should be stopped immediately.

“The Drug Control Authority cancelled the product registration on Aug 28 following the discovery of the scheduled poison, which is not allowed in the formulation,” he said in a statement today.


Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine which reduces allergic reactions – but when applied topically, leads to rashes, itchiness and sensitivity to light – which is why it is controlled under the Poisons Act 1952 and can only be prescribed by doctors and pharmacists.

He also urged the public to avoid buying and using the paste, and advised those currently using the product to seek medical help should they experience any discomfort or other unwanted symptoms.

Dr Noor Hisham warned that anyone selling or distributing Tie Da Zhi Tong Gao would be violating the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984 and could be penalised with a fine of not more than RM25,000, or imprisonment for not more than three years, or both, for the first offence.

“For the subsequent offence, (you could be sentenced to) a fine of not more than RM50,000, or jail time of not more than five years, or both.

“Companies that commit the offence can be fined up to RM50,000 for the first offence and RM100,000 for the subsequent offence,” he added.

Dr Nooh Hisham said consumers can check the registration status of any product at http://npra.moh.gov.my/.

“Those seeking information or want to lodge a complaint regarding a product can do so at http://moh.spab.gov.my,” he added. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd