Ninety-eight out of 100 tested samples of thuoc cam (a kind of herbal medicine) contained excessive amounts of lead, according to the latest finding from the Institute of Chemistry.
A total of 130 people, mostly children, have been admitted to Ha Noi-based Bach Mai Hospital so far this year due to lead contamination caused by the cam medicine.
After undergoing tests, 56 patients were deemed to be suffering from serious contamination. Most of them had bought the medicine from street vendors.
Cam medicine is a powder made from various types of herbal plants and is believed to treat oral thrush and stimulate growth.
Deputy Minister of Health Cao Minh Quang has asked the Bach Mai Hospital to work out a proper treatment scheme for lead contamination.
The Drug Administration of Viet Nam was asked to announce a ban on cam medicine of unknown origin.
The National Institute of Drug Testing will continue testing samples of the medicine available for sale.
Lead contamination causes nervous system disorders, loss of consciousness and paralysis, said Cao Huy Hung, a doctor from the National Paediatrics Hospital.
It takes several years to treat the disease without specialised medicine, he said.