Authorities warned consumers about fake green chiretta products after a man was arrested with capsules in Nakhon Pathom province amid high demand for herbs to fight COVID-19.
The Consumer Protection Police Division and the Food and Drug Administration said Thanachote (surname withheld) was arrested at a house in Moo 4 village of tambon Kamphaeng Saen in Kamphaeng Saen district of Nakhon Pathom on Monday.
Officials found with him 450 bottles of capsules claimed to contain green chiretta (Fah Talai Jone in Thai), about 60,000 capsules containing powdered herbs, 300 unlabelled packs of capsules and 6,000 empty bottles with caps. They believed fake green chiretta capsules were made at the house.
The suspect confessed to having filled empty capsules with powdered tinospora crispa, a moonseed herb with heart-shaped leaves or “boraphet” in Thai, since it had a bitter taste like green chiretta.
Acting deputy FDA secretary-general Supatra Boonserm said shortages of green chiretta products amid high demand for the medicinal herb led to fake products.
She advised consumers to check FDA-approved products at www.fda.moph.go.th or through Oryor Smart mobile application.
Pol Maj Gen Nathasak Chaonasai, commander of the Consumer Protection Police Division, said producers of fake herbal products were liable to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to 1 million baht. Unauthorised sales of herbs and sales of fake herbs are also punishable by three years in jail and a fine up to 300,000 baht.
Last week the cabinet approved the use of green chiretta to treat asymptomatic COVID-19 patients.