13 Apr 2012
The Department of Health (DH) today (April 13) appeals to members of the public not to buy or consume unlabelled slimming products from the Internet as they may contain western medicines or banned drug ingredient that is dangerous to health.
Through the DH's surveillance programme, samples of unlabelled slimming products were obtained from two Internet auction sites. According to the auction sites, the slimming products were allegedly obtained from a hospital in Thailand. Today, analysis results show that various western medicines, including a banned drug ingredient sibutramine, are found in nine unlabelled products obtained from the two Internet auction sites (five products from one auction site and four products from another site). Other Western medicines found include hydrochlorothiazide, frusemide, fluoxetine, chlorpheniramine and bisacodyl.
The two implicated Internet auction sites are:
DH investigation continues.
"Sibutramine was used as an appetite suppressant. In November 2010, products containing sibutramine were banned because of increased cardiovascular risk and they are no longer allowed for sale in Hong Kong," a DH spokesman says.
"Hydrochlorothiazide and furosemide are both used as diuretic and also for the treatment of hypertension while fluoxetine is used for depression. Both hydrochlorothaizide and furosemide may cause hypotension and electrolyte imbalance; whereas fluoxetine may cause postural hypotension and alopecia. They must be sold with prescriptions at pharmacies under the supervision of pharmacists. Chlorpheniramine is used for allergy but may cause drowsiness while bisacodyl is a laxative that may cause abdominal pain. Both these two drugs are over-the-counter medicines," the spokesman continues.
The spokesman exhorts members of the public not to sell or use products of unknown composition from the market or the Internet. Weight control should be achieved through good diet and appropriate exercise. Members of the public should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control. They should consult healthcare professionals for advice if they feel unwell after taking the concerned products.
"People should stop using the products immediately. They should submit them to DH's Drug Office at 3/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon, during office hours for disposal," the spokesman urges.