Warning on slimming products with undeclared western drug ingredients
7 Jun 2010
The Department of Health (DH) today (June 7) called on the public not to buy or use four slimming products called 纖婷 II (櫻花精油減肥膠囊), 纖婷 III (櫻花精油減肥膠囊), 瘦身の語 III and "Fatloss Jimpness Beauty" respectively as they were found to contain undeclared Western drug ingredients that may cause serious side effects.
The first three products were purchased by DH from the Internet and the fourth seized from a shop in Luen Wo Hui Market in Fanling, all acting on information from DH's surveillance programme.
Laboratory tests confirmed that 纖婷 II (櫻花精油減肥膠囊) and 纖婷 III (櫻花精油減肥膠囊) contained sibutramine, sibutramine-analogue and phenolphthalein. In the other two products, 瘦身の語 III was found to carry sibutramine and "Fatloss Jimpness Beauty" to contain both sibutramine and phenolphthalein. DH's Investigation continues.
"None of the four products above is a registered pharmaceutical product or proprietary Chinese medicine," he said.
The spokesman explained that phenolphthalein was once used for treating constipation but has been banned for its cancer-causing effect.
He 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. It should not be taken by people with heart problems. The sibutramine analogue, being chemically similar to sibutramine, is expected to have the same side effects as sibutramine.
Any product containing sibutramine must be registered before it can be sold in Hong Kong. And it can be sold only on a doctor's prescription and dispensed under the supervision of a pharmacist.
The spokesman said sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products is 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 see a doctor if they feel unwell after taking the product.
They should destroy and dispose of the product or submit it to the DH'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 balanced diet and appropriate exercise. Members of the public should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control."