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Products found to contain undeclared medicines

DH raids retail shop for suspected illegal sale of slimming products with undeclared controlled drug ingredients (with photo)
In a joint operation today (July 29), the Department of Health (DH) and the Police raided a retail shop in Lam Tin where two slimming products, namely LAMI and SULAMI, suspected to contain undeclared controlled drug ingredients were sold.

During the DH's market surveillance, samples of the above two products were purchased previously from the shop for analysis. Results from the Government Laboratory revealed that LAMI and SULAMI respectively contained the Part I poisons sibutramine and spironolactone.

Two women, both aged 44, were arrested by the Police for illegal sale and possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products and Part I poisons in the operation today.

The DH's investigation is ongoing.

Sibutramine was once used as an appetite suppressant. Since November 2010, products containing sibutramine have been banned in Hong Kong because of increased cardiovascular risk. Spironolactone is a prescription drug used in the management of heart failure and should only be used under supervision of a doctor. Side-effects include headache, gastrointestinal disturbance, mental confusion, hyponatraemia (abnormally low blood sodium level) and hyperkalaemia (elevated blood potassium level).

According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138), all pharmaceutical products must be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong before they can be legally sold in the market. Part I poisons can only be sold in a pharmacy under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. Illegal sale of Part I poisons and unregistered pharmaceutical products are criminal offences. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.

A spokesman for the DH strongly urged members of the public not to buy products of unknown or doubtful composition, or to consume products from unknown sources. Weight control should be achieved through a balanced diet and appropriate exercise. The public should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control.

Members of the public who have purchased the above two products should stop consuming them immediately. They should consult healthcare professionals for advice if they feel unwell or are in doubt after consuming the products.

People may submit the products to the DH's Drug Office at Room 1856, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, during office hours for disposal.

Ends/Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:53