The Ministry of Health in Khammouane Province initiated a crackdown on a traditional remedy after the discovery of steroids in over 800 bottles of black liquid. The operation took place on 4 January, following an investigation by provincial health authorities targeting traditional medicine shops in Thakhek and Hinboun districts.
The investigation resulted in the successful seizure and disposal of 899 bottles of the black liquid, valued at approximately LAK 48 million (USD 2334.76).
While the traditional remedy is commonly consumed by locals to enhance the taste of food, the health ministry warned that prolonged consumption could lead to adverse effects such as weight gain, skin cracks, weakened immune systems, and, in severe cases, death.
According to Khammouane TV, the seized remedies were produced and sold in violation of Laos’ medicine laws, encompassing both the manufacturing location and the processes involved, as well as the ingredients used in the production of the black liquid.
While specific penalties were not outlined, authorities issued a formal notice cautioning sellers about the associated risks and drawbacks of their products. The sellers were explicitly instructed not to engage in the sale of these illegal remedies again.
An official from the Ministry of Health in Khammouane Province, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, revealed that this is the first time that the province has undertaken a mission to eliminate this specific drug. He emphasized that a similar investigation will be carried out in the future.
“The ones we’ve disposed of are illegal and contain steroids. There are other safe and registered alternatives permitted for purchase,” he explained.
Expressing concern over intentional illegal sales for financial gain, the official urged residents to exercise caution when purchasing traditional medicines.