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Suspected illegal possession of Part I poison by registered Chinese medicine practitioner

     The Department of Health (DH) is today (May 31) investigating a case of suspected illegal possession of a Part I poison involving a registered Chinese medicine practitioner (CMP), Tsui Wai-ah, practising in a premises named "Jia Ming Tui Na Die Da" at G/F, 48 Hau Tei Square, Tsuen Wan.

     The action followed the DH's investigation into a notification from the Hospital Authority (HA) about a 42-year-old man who had sought medical treatment from the above premises for a sprained wrist and had been given some pills in different colours. He was later admitted to a public hospital because of elevated liver enzymes. The HA's laboratory testing showed the presence of a Part I poison, Indomethacin, in the brown pills. The patient has been discharged from the hospital.

     The DH conducted a joint operation with the Police on May 24 and two bottles of brown pills were found in the premises bearing a similar appearance to patient's sample. The DH seized the pills for laboratory testing. The laboratory result today showed that these pills contain Indomethacin.

     Indomethacin is a Part I poison that requires a doctor's prescription. It is used for relief of pain and inflammation. Its known side effects include gastro-intestinal discomfort, nausea, peptic ulcer and renal impairment.

     So far, the DH has not received any report of related adverse incidents. Investigation is ongoing.

     On completion of investigation, the DH will seek advice from the Department of Justice regarding prosecution against the CMP for possible contravention of the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap. 138) regarding illegal possession of a Part I poison. The maximum penalty is $100,000 and two years' imprisonment. The DH will also refer this case to the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong for its consideration of taking possible disciplinary actions.

     Members of the public are advised to stop using the medicines given by the CMP at the above premises and submit the medicines to the Chinese Medicine Division of the DH at 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, during office hours for disposal. Also, if they feel unwell or suspect they are suffering from an adverse effect after taking the medicines, they are advised to consult health-care professionals.

Ends/Friday, May 31, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:43


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