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Products found to contain undeclared medicines

Warning on slimming product with banned drug ingredients
The Department of Health (DH) today (November 7) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume a slimming product named ‘Ku Xiu Ba Xiang Jian Fei Wan', as it may contain undeclared and banned drug ingredients that are dangerous to health.

The appeal followed DH's receipt of notification from the Hospital Authority (HA) about an 18-year-old lady who had a history of consuming the above slimming product. The DH commenced investigation immediately.

"The patient attended Accident and Emergency Department of Tseung Kwan O Hospital on October 17 because of having recent onset of psychiatric symptom of persecutory delusion. She was transferred to United Christian Hospital for further management on October 18. She described a history of consumption of the above slimming product. A drug-related adverse effect was suspected," a DH spokesman revealed.

"The HA's laboratory test on the product sample showed the presence of two undeclared and banned Western medicines including - sibutramine and phenolphthalein. Investigation revealed that the patient purchased the product from the internet. She was discharged from hospital on October 26 after treatment. The DH’s investigation continues," the spokesman added.

"Sibutramine is a Part I poison and was once a Western medicine used as an appetite suppressant. Since November 2010, products containing sibutramine have been banned because of increased cardiovascular risk. Phenolphthalein was once used for treating constipation but has been banned for its possible cancer-causing effect," the spokesman explained.

The spokesman urged members of the public not to buy products of unknown or doubtful composition, or consume products from unknown sources such as the Internet. People should consult healthcare professionals if they feel unwell or are in doubt after taking the product," the spokesman urged.

"Weight control should be achieved through balanced diet and appropriate exercise. People should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control," the spokesman concluded.