20 Apr 2012
A 53-year-old woman was arrested today (April 20) in a joint operation by the Police and the Department of Health (DH) at Tsim Sha Tsui for illegal sale of unlabelled slimming products, which are suspected to be unregistered pharmaceutical products containing banned drug ingredient and Western medicines.
The operation was a follow-up action of the previous DH's surveillance findings in which nine unlabelled slimming products obtained from two Internet auction sites were later found to contain various Western medicines, including hydrochlorothiazide, frusemide, fluoxetine, chlorpheniramine, bisacodyl and a banned drug ingredient sibutramine.
On April 13, DH issued a press statement on the above analysis findings.
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.
"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," the spokesman says.
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.