Two persons arrested for allegedly selling slimming products with banned drug ingredients
8 Dec 2010
The Department of Health (DH) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume unknown or doubtful slimming products from the Internet as they may contain undeclared drug ingredients that are dangerous to health.
The appeal followed the arrest of two men aged 26 and 38 respectively today (December 8) in two separate joint operations by the Police and the DH for suspected sale of six slimming products which were found to contain undeclared and banned drug ingredients. The six products were "Miaozi Qiantijiaonang", "Leptin Slimup Fuel Coffee", "Leptin Coffee Weight Loss", "Relacore South African Hoodia Capsule", "Rehuoshoushen II Xinzixilie Pilipeifang" and "Rehuoshoushen III Xinzixilie Boluopeifang".
A number of suspected unregistered pharmaceutical products were also seized from the 38-year-old man at the time of the arrest.
The two persons were arrested for illegal sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products. The department previously obtained the six products concerned from Internet auction websites during the department's surveillance operation. Laboratory tests confirmed that all six products contained sibutramine, and three of them contained phenolphthalein.
Sibutramine was once a western medicine used as appetite suppressant. In November 2010, sibutramine containing products have been banned because of the increased cardiovascular risk. Phenolphthalein was once used for treating constipation but has been banned for its cancer-causing effect.
Products containing sibutramine or phenolphthalein are banned and so, they are unregistered pharmaceutical products and are not allowed for sale in Hong Kong. Sale of unregistered pharmaceutical product is an offence under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance. The maximum penalty is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.
The spokesman exhorted members of the public not to sell products of unknown or doubtful composition.
People should stop using the products immediately. They should consult a doctor if they feel unwell after taking the products. They should destroy and dispose of the products or submit them 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. People should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control."