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Products found to contain undeclared medicines

DH raids shop for suspected illegal sale of slimming product with undeclared banned drug ingredient (with photo)
A retail shop in Sham Shui Po was raided today (December 9) in a joint operation by the Department of Health (DH) and the Police for suspected illegal sale of a slimming product called 4C Cosmoslim, which is suspected to contain an undeclared banned drug ingredient and Part 1 poisons.

Following a public complaint, a sample of the above product was previously purchased from the above shop for analysis. The test results from the Government Laboratory revealed that the sample contained a banned ingredient, phenolphthalein, and Part 1 poisons, diclofenac and lignocaine.

During the operation today, a woman aged 19 was arrested by the Police for suspected illegal sale of Part 1 poison and unregistered pharmaceutical product.

The DH's investigation is ongoing.

Phenolphthalein was once used to treat constipation, but has been banned in Hong Kong for its cancer-causing effect. Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for pain relief and its side-effects include gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea and peptic ulcers. Lignocaine is a local anaesthetic and may cause hypersensitivity reactions.

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. The illegal sale of Part 1 poisons and unregistered pharmaceutical products are criminal offences. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.

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

A spokesman for the DH strongly urges 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.

People may submit the product 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, December 9, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:31