Warning about slimming product with undeclared drug ingredients
24 Nov 2009
Members of the public are urged not to buy or consume a slimming product labeled as "Slimming Beauty" as it was found to have contained undeclared western medicine that may cause serious side effects, a spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) said today (November 24).
Sample of the product was obtained from an Internet auction website during recent surveillance operation.
Laboratory tests on the product showed the presence of sibutramine and phenolphthalein.
The spokesman said sibutramine is a Western medicine used as an appetite suppressant. Its side effects include increased blood pressure and heart rate, psychosis and possibly convulsion. People with heart problems should not take it.
Phenolphthalein was once used for treating constipation but has been banned for its cancer-causing effect.
A product containing sibutramine must be registered before it can be sold in Hong Kong. It can be sold only on a doctor's prescription and dispensed under the supervision of a pharmacist.
The spokesman exhorted members of the public not to sell products of unknown or doubtful composition.
"The Department of Health has stepped up joint efforts with the Police against illegal sale of pharmaceutical products on the internet," he said.
The spokesman said sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products was an offence under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance. The maximum penalty is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.
People should stop using the product immediately and they should see a doctor if they feel unwell after taking the product.
They should destroy and dispose of the product or submit it to the department's Pharmaceutical Service at 3/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon, during office hours.
The spokesman said, "Weight control should be achieved through good diet and appropriate exercise. They should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control."