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Products found to contain undeclared medicines

Woman arrested for suspected illegal sale of slimming product with undeclared controlled drug substances (with photo)
A woman aged 20 was arrested today (June 10) in a joint operation by the Department of Health (DH) and the Police for suspected illegal sale of a slimming product called Secrate SRIM&FERM, which is suspected to contain undeclared Part I poisons.

The DH was notified by the Hospital Authority that a female patient, who was found to have hypokalemia, had a history of consuming the above product purchased from a seller via the Internet. Test results from the Government Laboratory revealed that the product contained dipyrone, diclofenac, lignocaine and phenolphthalein. The patient has been discharged and is in a stable condition.

The DH's investigation is ongoing.

Dipyrone, diclofenac and lignocaine are Part I poisons. Dipyrone and diclofenac are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which are used to relieve pain and side-effects include gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea and peptic ulcers. Lignocaine is a local anaesthetic and may cause hypersensitivity reactions. Phenolphthalein was once used to treat constipation, but has been banned in Hong Kong 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. 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.

Members of the public who have purchased the above product should stop consuming it immediately. They should consult health-care professionals for advice if they feel unwell or in doubt after consuming the product.

A spokesman for the DH 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 health-care 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, June 10, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:40