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Public urged not to buy or use slimming products labelled as containing drug ingredient yohimbine (with photo)
The Department of Health (DH) today (June 16) appealed to members of the public not to buy or use three oral slimming products namely Rapidcuts, Lipo 6 and Lipo 6 Black as they were labelled as containing a drug ingredient, yohimbine, which might be dangerous to health.

The appeal followed the DH's investigation upon the receipt of notification of a case from the Hospital Authority (HA) regarding a 29-year-old female patient who fell sick after having consumed a slimming product labelled as containing yohimbine.

"The patient attended the Accident and Emergency Department of United Christian Hospital on June 2 for palpitation, hand tremor, dizziness and anxiety feeling and was admitted for treatment on the same day. She gave a history of consuming Rapidcuts, which was purchased locally, before onset of symptoms. She was discharged on the following day. The HA's laboratory test results revealed that the sample of Rapidcuts provided by the patient contained yohimbine," a DH spokesman said.

Yohimbine is a Part I poison and has an antidiuretic effect. Its side-effects include increase in heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, manic reactions and bronchospasm. Products containing yohimbine can only be sold in a pharmacy under the supervision of a registered pharmacist.

Subsequent to the investigation, related retail shops were raided in a joint operation by the DH and the Police today. During the operation, three kinds of oral slimming products, namely Rapidcuts, Lipo 6 and Lipo 6 Black were seized in two retail shops located in Kowloon Bay and Sheung Wan respectively. A woman aged 23 was arrested by the Police for suspected illegal sale and possession of Part I poison and unregistered pharmaceutical products. Preliminary investigation has so far revealed that the products were sourced outside Hong Kong and no Hong Kong pharmaceutical product registration number was found on the product labels.

The investigation is continuing.

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 sold legally in the market. Illegal sale and possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products or Part I poisons 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 products should stop consuming them immediately. They should consult health-care professionals for advice if feeling unwell or in doubt after consumption.

Weight control should be achieved through a balanced diet and appropriate exercise. The public should consult health-care professionals before using any medication for weight control.

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

Ends/Monday, June 16, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:26