Gugu Mahlangu, the MCAZ director for technical services said her organisation was developing a laboratory so it can test the medicines which could be harmful to consumers.
“We are currently doing bio-burden assessments of the metals and will be able to do metal testing once the laboratory is complete,” Mahlangu said.
“The main problem with some of the complimentary medicines coming into the country is that they have heavy metals and micro-organisms which may negatively impact on consumers’ health at a later stage.”
She added that most of the medicines were plant products grown in places where the ground was contaminated or has a lot of metals which were absorbed and kept in the leaves.
These metals, which include mercury and lead, find their way into the final product, exposing consumers to various health risks including cancer and other reactions.
Various herbs and drugs continue to find their way into the country where they are sold in pharmacies and on street corners.
Local traditional healers have previously complained about the imported medicines saying importers were taking advantage of a laxity in the country’s laws.
The traditional healers have also said some of these medicines could be poisonous.
Among popular imports is a drug called Zifozonke (all ailments), which its South African manufacturers claim can cure all diseases.
There is also Tanzania’s Ngoka Eleven which is said to treat 115 ailments ranging from yellow fever, syphilis, stroke, cholera to mental confusion.