Public urged not to buy slimming products with undeclared western drug ingredients
27 Oct 2010
The Department of Health (DH) today (October 27) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume a slimming product named “Crystal Pills” as it was found to contain undeclared western drug ingredients that may be dangerous to health.
A spokesman for DH said that the product was obtained from the internet by the department’s surveillance operation. Laboratory analysis results were available today and showed the presence of western drug ingredients sibutramine and its analogue.
A joint operation was conducted by the DH and the Police today, resulting in the arrest of a 55-year-old woman for suspected illegal sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products.
During the operation, a number of other suspected unregistered pharmaceutical products were also seized from the woman. Laboratory tests on these products will be conducted later.
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. Sibutramine analogue, being chemically similar to sibutramine, is expected to have the same side effect.
Any product containing sibutramine must be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and must be sold on doctor's prescription and dispensed under the supervision of registered pharmacist.
DH's investigation continues.
The spokesman exhorted members of the public not to sell products of unknown or doubtful composition.
"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," he said.
Members of the public who have purchased the product described above should stop using it immediately.
They should consult 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.
"Weight control should be achieved through proper diet and appropriate exercise. Members of the public should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control," the spokesman said.