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Two persons arrested for allegedly selling slimming products with banned drug ingredients (with photos)

     The Department of Health (DH) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume unknown or doubtful slimming products from the Internet as they may contain undeclared drug ingredients that are dangerous to health.

     The appeal followed the arrest of two women aged 24 and 29 respectively today (May 6) in two separate joint operations by the Police and the DH for suspected sale of four slimming products which were found to contain undeclared and banned drug ingredients. The four products were "Six Clock Natural Leptin Coffee", "Aisam Wellness Sport Burner - Quan Shen Huan Rao Xing" and "Aisam Wellness Sport Burner - Xiu Yao Xing", "Aisam Wellness Sport Burner - Xiu Tui Xing".

     The two persons were arrested for illegal sale of Part I poisons and unregistered pharmaceutical products. DH previously obtained the four products concerned from Internet auction websites during the department's surveillance operation. Laboratory tests confirmed that all four products contained sibutramine and phenolphthalein, and three of them contained sibutramine analogues.

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

     Sibutramine analogues, being chemically similar to sibutramine, are expected to have the same side effects as sibutramine.

     Products containing sibutramine or phenolphthalein are banned and so, they are unregistered pharmaceutical products and are not allowed for sale in Hong Kong. Sale of unregistered pharmaceutical product is an offence under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance. The maximum penalty is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.

     The spokesman exhorted members of the public not to sell products of unknown or doubtful composition.

     People should stop using the products immediately. They should consult a doctor if they feel unwell after taking the products.

     They should destroy and dispose of the products or submit them to the department's Pharmaceutical Service at 3/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon, during office hours.

     The spokesman said: "Weight control should be achieved through good diet and appropriate exercise. People should consult healthcare professionals before using any medication for weight control."

Ends/Friday, May 6, 2011
Issued at HKT 20:28


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