17 Feb 2012
A 30-year-old woman was today (February 17) arrested in a joint operation by the Police and the Department of Health (DH) at Sham Shui Po for suspected illegal sale of one box of Lexscl Fat Rapid Loss Capsule, which is a slimming product with undeclared and banned drug ingredients.
The operation followed laboratory test findings today revealing that the slimming product, which had been obtained earlier from an Internet auction website during DH's surveillance operation, were found to contain sibutramine, phenolphthalein.
Sibutramine is a Part I poison and was once a western medicine used as an appetite suppressant. Since November 2010, products containing sibutramine have been banned by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board because of increased cardiovascular risk.
Phenolphthalein is another banned drug. It was used previously to treat constipation, but has been banned for its cancer-causing effect.
"Thus, products containing sibutramine or phenolphthalein are banned and are not accepted for registration as pharmaceutical products in Hong Kong. Sale of unregistered pharmaceutical product and illegal sale of Part I poison are offences under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years imprisonment," a DH spokesman remarks.
During the operation, the woman was arrested by the Police for sale of unregistered pharmaceutical product and illegal sale of Part I poison.
DH investigation continues.
People must stop using the product immediately and consult a doctor if they feel unwell after taking the product.
As the product is an unregistered pharmaceutical product and a Part I poison, people should submit it to the department's Drug Office at 3/F., Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon, during office hours for disposal.
The spokesman said, "Weight control should only be achieved through a good diet and appropriate exercise. People ought to consult healthcare providers for professional advice if they have questions and definitely before using any medication for weight control."