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

     The Department of Health (DH) is investigating a registered Chinese medicine practitioner (CMP), Tang Chau (also known as Tang Po-sang (transliteration)), practising at G/F, 255 Ki Lung Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, who is suspected of illegal possession of Part I poisons.

     The Hospital Authority (HA) notified the DH that a patient consulted the CMP concerned for treatment of eczema. Among others, the patient was prescribed with a yellowish cream labelled as "A1" by the CMP. The patient later attended the Accident and Emergency Department of a public hospital because of eczema. The HA's laboratory testing showed the presence of a Part I poison, Clobetasol propionate, in the yellowish cream. The patient did not develop any related serious side-effects after using the cream and no hospitalisation was required.

     "Joint investigation with the Police at the CMP's clinic was conducted immediately upon notification. Preliminary investigation showed that multiple quantities of cream suspected to contain Part I poisons, including one labelled as 'A1' were found on the premises and all related cream has been seized for further investigation. While the DH's investigation is ongoing, the DH has instructed the CMP to contact his clients for medical surveillance. The DH has not received other reports of related adverse incidents thus far," a spokesman of the DH said.

     The DH has set up a hotline (2125 1133) for public enquiries related to the medicines prescribed by the above CMP. It will operate from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
     Clobetasol propionate is a corticosteroid used for the topical treatment of severe inflammatory skin disorders and is a prescription medicine to be used under medical advice. Inappropriate use of corticosteroids may cause serious side-effects such as Cushing's syndrome, with symptoms including moon face and muscle atrophy.

     On completion of its 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) for illegal possession of Part I poisons. The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment. The DH will also refer this case to the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong for possible disciplinary action.

     Should any person have been supplied with medicines by the CMP concerned and be in doubt, he/she should consult a health care professional and submit the medicine to the Chinese Medicine Division of DH at 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon during office hours for disposal.

Ends/Thursday, September 18, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:29


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