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Woman arrested for suspected illegal sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products with controlled drug ingredient (with photo)
A woman aged 34 was arrested today (May 29) for suspected illegal sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products labelled to contain a Part I poison, orlistat, in a joint operation by the Department of Health (DH) and the Police.

Acting upon a public complaint, it was found that two slimming products, namely Olidown and ZERO-X, both labelled as containing 120mg of orlistat were being offered for sale online. Hong Kong pharmaceutical registration number was not found on both product labels. Products containing orlistat are Part I poisons which should only be sold at pharmacies under the supervision of a registered pharmacist.

The DH's investigation is ongoing.

Orlistat is used for the treatment of obesity. Its side-effects include faecal urgency, fatty stool, increased frequency of defaecation, faecal incontinence, headache and abdominal pain. Severe liver injuries may also be induced.

According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138), 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.

"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. They should not use controlled medicines on their own without advice from a doctor," a spokesman for the DH said.

All registered pharmaceutical products should carry a Hong Kong registration number on the label in the format of "HK-XXXXX". Safety, quality and efficacy of unregistered pharmaceutical products are not guaranteed.

People who have purchased the above products should stop using them and consult healthcare professionals if they are in doubt or feeling unwell after use. They can submit the products 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/Friday, May 29, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:57