Print Page

Products found to contain undeclared medicines

DH urges public not to buy or consume slimming product with undeclared banned ingredients (with photo)
The Department of Health (DH) today (October 13) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume a slimming product, Nutri Drops Grapefruit Diet, as it was found to contain undeclared and banned drug ingredients which might be dangerous to health.

During the DH's market surveillance, a sample of the above product was purchased for analysis. The results from the Government Laboratory revealed that the sample contained the banned drug ingredients sibutramine and phenolphthalein.

The DH's investigation is ongoing.

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

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.

"The public should not buy or consume products of doubtful composition or from unknown sources. All registered pharmaceutical products should carry a Hong Kong registration number on the package in the format of 'HK-XXXXX'. Unregistered pharmaceutical products have not been evaluated by the Board and their safety, quality and efficacy are not guaranteed," a spokesman for the DH said.

"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," the spokesman advised.

People who have purchased the above product should stop taking it immediately and consult healthcare professionals if they are in doubt or feeling unwell. They can 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/Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:33