30 Jun 2010
A 54-year-old woman was today (June 30) arrested in a joint operation by the Police and the Department of Health (DH) for illegal possession of Part 1 poisons and an unregistered pharmaceutical product called "Beauty Fix Detox", which was found to contain undeclared Western drug ingredients that may cause serious side effects.
In today's operation, a total of 28 bottles of the product were seized.
The department received a report from the Hospital Authority about a 25-year-old woman who felt unwell after taking the product for a week.
The patient presented with palpitation, decreased appetite, hand tremor, chest tightness and shortness of breath and was admitted to Ruttonjee Hospital on June 10. She was discharged the next day.
Hospital laboratory tests on the product obtained from the patient showed the presence of undeclared Western drugs -- phenolphthalein, sibutramine and thyroid hormone.
Investigation revealed that the woman joined a weight reduction course organised by Fit Beauty in Fanling. She was advised to take two capsules of the product every day.
The department conducted a search at the company's premises today. During the operation, the proprietor was arrested and a total of 28 bottles of the product were seized.
The spokesman said phenolphthalein was once used for treating constipation but has 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.
Thyroid hormones are used for treatment of hypothyroidism (subnormal activity of the thyroid gland). Side effects include tremors, palpitations, excessive sweating, insomnia, headache and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm).
A product containing sibutramine or thyroid hormone 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 urged people to 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 department's Pharmaceutical Service at 3/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon, during office hours.
For enquiries, please call the department's hotline (2125 1133), which will operate from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday starting tomorrow.
The spokesman said, "Weight control should be achieved through balanced diet and appropriate exercise. They should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control."