10 Mar 2011
A spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) today (March 10) called on members of the public not to buy or use two orally consumed commercial products targeted at male consumers, one called Venergy and another a Chinese medicine named Gold Seagull Long Zhi Wan, as they were each found to contain a potent unregistered western drug, respectively sildenafil and glibenclamide.
The spokesman elaborated that the appeal was made after DH's Pharmaceutical Service surveillance programme detected the drugs in the two products, which suspiciously claim to benefit men with sexual dysfunction.
"It is likely that in both cases, the offence committed was the sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products, the penalty for which can be a fine of up to HK$100,000 and imprisonment of up to two years," the spokesman remarked.
Sildenafil is a western drug used for treating male sexual dysfunction. Side effects can include low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, visual disturbances, vomiting and, if blood pressure becomes dangerously low, even fatality. It may also interact with other prescription drugs, such as the common cardiac drug nitroglycerin.
Glibenclamide is also a western drug, used for treating diabetes mellitus. Side effects may include nausea and gastro-intestinal upset. Improper use may lead to a fall in blood sugar levels, which can also be fatal if allowed to drop too low.
According to GE Top International Trading Limited, the distributor of Venergy, the product was imported from Malaysia for sale in Hong Kong. Although no related case report has been received by the DH thus far, since life-threatening hypotension is a possible consequence of usage, the DH has taken a precautionary approach and has instructed the Company to recall Venergy from consumers immediately. The company has set up a hotline (2219 8188) to answer public enquiries.
Gold Seagull Long Zhi Wan is registered proprietary Chinese medicine supplier (registration number: HKP-02601). The distributor, Wing Hong Medicine Company, told DH's pharmaceutical inspectors that the product was imported from the Mainland. Similarly, although no case report has been received by DH, since life-threatening hypoglycaemia can be a consequence, DH has also ordered the Company to withdraw the product from consumers immediately. A hotline (2605 6216) has also been set up to handle enquiries.
"DH's investigation into the cases is still ongoing," the spokesman said. "However, members of the public who have bought the products must cease to use them. They are urged to seek advice from healthcare professionals if they feel unwell or in doubt," he repeated.
As these products contain unregistered drugs, the spokesman advised that they should be surrendered to the Department's Pharmaceutical Service at 3/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon, during office hours for proper handling.
The spokesman also reminded people that should they have sexual health problems, they ought to seek advice from healthcare providers instead.