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Products found to contain undeclared medicines

Public urged not to buy or consume slimming product with undeclared banned ingredient (with photo)
The Department of Health (DH) today (September 15) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume a slimming product labelled as "USA purchasing" as it was found to contain an undeclared and banned drug ingredient that might be dangerous to health.

During the DH's market surveillance, a sample of the above slimming product was purchased through the Internet for analysis. Test results from the Government Laboratory revealed that the product contains sibutramine.

The DH's investigation is continuing.

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.

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 and possession 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 DH spokesman strongly urged members of the public not to 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.

"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 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, September 15, 2015
Issued at HKT 14:38