Letter: Heroin cure

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The Independent Online
YOUR article "Heroin cure may have killed six" (25 February) says that Mr Tran Khuong Dan "may have covered up the death of up to six patients in his care". The death of only one patient is known. This patient was very sick when he came to the Detoxification Center, and the reason of his death is not yet clear. The family of this patient agreed voluntarily to take their son's body for burial.

Heantos is a medication used for treatment of drug addiction, discovered by Mr Dan in the late Eighties. In 1991 Heantos was tested and evaluated by an MOH scientific committee, and there was a decision to allow its utilisation in the treatment centres belonging to the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs. According to this decision Mr Dan has also to collect and supply further data on Heantos to the MOH for the authorisation of the production and wide use of this medication. This has not yet happened.

In 1996 there was a new decision from MOH on the evaluation of the efficacy and safety of all herbal medications. Heantos is now being evaluated according to the new standards and regulations, and we are waiting for the test results.

Professor Dr TRAN VAN SUNG

Institute of Chemistry

Hanoi, Vietnam

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