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Press Release

Public urged not to take slimming product with undeclared drug ingredients

16 Nov 2009

The Department of Health (DH) today (November 16) urged the public not to buy or consume the slimming product called "Pai You Guo" sold either in a box of 30 capsules or a bag of 10g powder as it was found to contain undeclared Western drug ingredients which may cause serious side effects.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) informed GMP Herbal Products, Inc. that Pai You Guo, a weight control dietary supplement sold and marketed by the firm was found to contain undeclared drug ingredients.

According to the FDA, the company initiated a recall of the products.

FDA laboratory tests on the product samples showed the presence of undeclared western drugs, phenolphthalein and sibutramine.

A DH spokesman said phenolphthalein was once used for treating constipation but had been banned for its cancer causing effect.

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.

A department spokesman said that the products were found on sale in the Internet.

He said: " Products containing sibutramine must be registered before it can be sold in Hong Kong. It can only be sold on a doctor's prescription and dispensed under the supervision of a pharmacist."

The spokesman said sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products was an offence under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance. Upon conviction, the maximum penalty is a fine of HK$100,000 and two years' imprisonment.

Members of the public should stop using the product immediately. They should consult their 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 a balanced diet and appropriate exercise. People should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control."

  Last Revision Date : 16 November 2009