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Retail shop raided for selling unregistered pharmaceutical products with controlled drug ingredient (with photos)

     A retail shop in Fo Tan was raided by the Department of Health (DH) and the Police in a joint operation today (January 31) on suspicion of selling three unregistered pharmaceutical products, among which one contains a controlled drug ingredient.

     Upon the investigation of a public complaint, the DH found three unregistered pharmaceutical products being displayed for sale by a retail shop in Fo Tan. The products comprise two over-the-counter medicines, namely Country Life Maxi-Hair (labelled as containing vitamins), Now Turmeric & Bromelain (labelled as containing digestive enzymes), and a product known as Primaforce Yohimbine HCl (labelled as containing Yohimbine, a Part I poison). Hong Kong pharmaceutical product registration numbers were not found on any of the pharmaceutical product labels. The preliminary investigation has so far revealed that the suspected unregistered pharmaceutical products were sourced by the company outside Hong Kong.

     During the operation, a 41-year-old woman was arrested by the Police for illegal sale and possession of a Part I poison and unregistered pharmaceutical products.

     Yohimbine was sometimes used in the treatment of orthostatic hypotension. Side effects include anxiety, manic reactions and increased heart rate. Products containing Yohimbine can only be sold in a pharmacy under the supervision of a registered pharmacist.

     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. Sale and possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products and Part I poisons are criminal offences. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.

     The DH's investigation is continuing.

     A DH spokesperson strongly urged members of the public not to buy or use unregistered pharmaceutical products from the market as such products have not been evaluated by the Board and their safety, quality and efficacy are not guaranteed. All registered pharmaceutical products should carry a Hong Kong registration number on the package in the format of "HK-XXXXX".

     Members of the public who have bought the above products should stop using them immediately, and consult health-care professionals if they are in doubt or feeling unwell after using the products concerned. They may submit them to the Drug Office of the DH at Room 1856, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, during office hours for disposal.

Ends/Thursday, January 31, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:24


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