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Shark cartilage for sale on Phuket. Boots now plans to take it off shelves

Update: Boots to Withdraw Shark Product from Sale

Monday, September 28, 2009
Phuketwan UPDATE

'LISA,' who discovered the shark cartilage on a shelf in the supplements section, said: ''I love Boots so much being a familiar UK brand and was so shocked to see shark cartilage being sold. Being a Padi dive instructor I have great beliefs in the environment and the protection of our world's sharks. I think education is the key here, and this just does not help! I can't imagine that Boots UK are stocking this item.''

Late today Boots issued a ''statement concerning sale of shark cartilage supplement in Boots Thailand stores.'' It reads: ''Boots Retail Thailand prides itself on being a responsible retailer and the feedback we receive from customers is extremely important to us. Our supplement which contains shark cartilage is produced in Thailand by a local supplier and the product is manufactured using the cartilage from an animal which is also used for many other purposes, not solely for this particular product. However, we recognise that some customers may have concerns about the sale of this product in Boots stores in Thailand and accordingly we plan to discontinue stocking the product in the coming weeks.''

Original Report

A SHARP-EYED customer at a Phuket store has triggered an international review of the sale of capsules made from shark cartilage, found in the local Boots chemist shop.

Sale of shark cartilage is contentious because sharks are seen as endangered, especially by the taking of fins for shark's fin soup, a Chinese delicacy.

Asian fishermen, having caught a shark, usually cut off the fins before pushing the still-living creature overboard.

The efficacy of shark cartilage in treatment for cancer has also been called into question.

Ian Hunter, managing director of Boots Retail (Thailand) based in Bangkok, told Phuketwan by phone today that the issue had been referred to the communications section at the firm's headquarters in Britain.

He did not have authority to comment.

Sixty shark cartilage capsules are for sale in a 500mg bottle, carry a sticker saying ''NEW,'' at the Boots store at Tesco-Lotus in Phuket City.

Phuket has a large diving community and placement of a shark-based product on the shelves in a local Western chemist store almost inevitably prompted a reaction.

The popularity of shark cartilage has been attributed to a best-selling book, 'Sharks Don't Get Cancer,' by Dr William Lane, published in 1992.

While users say the supplement is effective, existing studies of shark cartilage on a variety of cancers have produced negligible to non-existent results.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Thank you for covering this. Shame on Boots. I have already found their contact page for their UK office and sent them a letter. Should anyone else want to here is the info for their contact page:

Posted by VFaye on September 28, 2009 15:24


For the many people who are not informed ... this issue is serious.

Shark Finning is a multi billion dollar industry, built on animal cruelty no less than the fur trade, with far greater environmental consequences.

PLEASE see "SHARKWATER" on you tube... it is available for free viewing under 'full documentary'

you will understand.


Posted by Loch Soul on September 28, 2009 18:44


I am pleased to hear that they will stop stocking the product, but this is not good enough. They need to remove the product from the shelves regardless of how much face someone at Boots Thailand is losing.

In fact a donation of proceeds to a worthy shark conservation organization would be in order.

Posted by Vfaye on September 28, 2009 20:44


There is a very famous, international company selling medicines containing shark extract in Europe. It is apparently very efficient. There has been no mention against this in the press. I think this must be an international issue, and not only Thai .

Posted by elizabeth on September 29, 2009 06:42


I saw supplements containing Shark products on sale in the little health shop in Tesco for some time. I made a complaint there but nothing happened for ages. I have not checked recently. There are a couple of restaurants in Rawai which sell shark steaks. I personally boycott those places. Does anyone else?

Posted by Tony on September 29, 2009 08:58


what does being a PADI diving instructor have to do with anything,eh

Posted by paul on September 29, 2009 21:54

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