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Products found to contain undeclared medicines

DH raids shop for suspected illegal sale of slimming product with undeclared banned drug ingredients (with photo)
The Department of Health (DH) today (May 11) raided a retail shop in Mong Kok in a joint operation with the Police for suspected illegal sale of a slimming product, namely Fizzle Pop Soda, suspected to contain undeclared banned drug ingredients.

Following a public complaint, a sample of the above product was previously purchased from the shop for analysis. Test results from the Government Laboratory revealed that the sample contained banned ingredients, sibutramine and phenolphthalein.

A man aged 45 and two women aged 21 and 51 were arrested by the Police for suspected illegal sale and possession of Part 1 poison and an unregistered pharmaceutical product in the operation.

The DH's investigation is ongoing.

"Sibutramine is a Part 1 poison once used as an appetite suppressant. Since November 2010, products containing sibutramine have been banned because of increased cardiovascular risk. Phenolphthalein was once used to treat constipation, but has been banned in Hong Kong for its cancer-causing effect," a spokesman for the DH explained.

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. 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 upon consumption," the spokesman added.

The spokesman 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.

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, May 11, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:06