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Man arrested for illegal Internet sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products with controlled drug ingredients (with photos)

     A 30-year-old man was arrested today (December 12) in a joint operation by the Department of Health (DH) and the Police in Sheung Shui for illegal sale of "Geftinat 250mg tablets", an unregistered pharmaceutical product containing a Part I poison.

     Earlier, upon the investigation of a complaint against the product which was offered for sale on the Internet, it was found that the product was labelled as containing gefitinib, a Part I poison.

     The product labelled as "Geftinat 250mg tablets" is a pharmaceutical product not registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong (the Board). Gefitinib is a prescription drug used for the treatment of lung cancer and it should only be used under the direction and supervision of a medical practitioner.

     During the operation, the man was arrested by the Police for the illegal sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products and illegal sale of Part I poisons.

     A subsequent search of a nearby premises rented by the man further revealed other unregistered pharmaceutical products containing Part I poisons. They are all for the treatment of various cancers (see Annex).

     The investigation by the DH is continuing.

     According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138), the sale or possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products and Part I poisons are criminal offences. The maximum penalty is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment for each offence.

     As unregistered pharmaceutical products have not been evaluated by the Board, their safety, quality and efficacy may not be guaranteed. A DH spokesperson urged members of the public not to buy or use products of unknown or doubtful compositions from the market or the Internet. Moreover, they should consult healthcare professionals for advice before taking any medications for their conditions, particularly for treatment of cancers. Medical attention should be sought if members of the public have ever used the products concerned.

      "Members of the public should stop using the products immediately. They should submit them to the Drug Office of the DH at Room 1801, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, during office hours for disposal," the spokesperson said.

Ends/Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:22


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