The Department of Health (DH) today (August 22) urged members of the public not to buy or take a slimming product under the name of "Seven Days Seven Fairy Maidens Forever-Youth Immunity Capsule".
The appeal followed a report of adulteration of the product involving a teenage girl who was feeling unwell after taking it for about six months.
The girl was admitted to a public hospital on August 14 with dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath and chest discomfort. She is now in stable condition.
It is reported that the girl bought the product from a shop in Shenzhen.
Initial examination of the slimming product revealed that it contained fenfluramine, a western medicine which has been de-registered in Hong Kong since January 1998 for its association with heart disease.
DH's Assistant Director, Dr Cindy Lai, said tracing investigation found that the product had once been illegally brought into Hong Kong and sold for a short period of time at a local company which has business connections with the product's wholesaler in Shenzhen.
"Staff of the DH's Pharmaceutical Service have carried out inspections in local dispensaries and medicine companies to ensure that it is not on sale in the local market," she said, adding, "such product has not been found by us."
Dr Lai appealed to members of the public who have been using this product for any period of time to stop using the product immediately and consult their doctors for a medical examination.
"Those who have been taking the product and develop symptoms suggesting impaired heart function like shortness of breath should see a doctor as soon as possible," she said.
DH has set up a hotline at 2961 8968 for public enquiries. Members of the public who have used the product can call the hotline for advice between 9 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday and between 9 am and 1 pm on Saturday.
The public can also access DH's website at http://www.info.gov.hk/dh/new for more information on fenfluramine.
Meanwhile, DH has also notified all Hong Kong doctors about the incident and reminded them to report to DH should they come across patients who have been exposed to the product.
Dr Lai reiterated that a balanced diet and adequate physical exercise are the crucial factors in keeping fit and healthy. Members of the public who need to reduce weight by means of medicines are advised to consult their doctors in advance.
End/Thursday, August 22, 2002