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Undeclared Western drug ingredients found in cream prescribed by registered Chinese medicine practitioner

     The Department of Health (DH) today (October 10) urged clients who have consulted a registered Chinese medicine practitioner (CMP), Tang Chau (also known as Tang Po-sang (transliteration)), on Ground Floor, 255 Ki Lung Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, to seek advice from health-care professionals if they have been prescribed with medicines suspected to contain undeclared Western drug ingredients further to the appeal on September 18.

     Upon testing by the Government Laboratory, eight samples of cream seized at the above CMP's premises were found to contain a number of Part I poisons, namely clobetasol propionate, fluocinonide, dexamethasone acetate, ketoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole and an antibiotic, chloramphenicol. Details of the results are listed in the attachment.

     "We have instructed the above CMP to contact his clients for medical surveillance. The DH's investigation is ongoing," a spokesman for the DH said.

     The DH will 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 tomorrow (October 11) and from next Monday (October 13) onwards.

     Clobetasol propionate, fluocinonide and dexamethasone acetate are corticosteroids and prescription medicines 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. Ketoconazole, clotrimazole and miconazole are antifungal medicines commonly used for the treatment of fungal infections of the skin. They can cause side effects such as itching, irritation and allergic reaction when used topically. Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic used for the treatment of various bacterial infections. It can cause hypersensitivity when given topically.

     Upon completion of investigation, the DH will seek advice from the Department of Justice regarding prosecution against the above CMP for possible contravention of the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138) for illegal possession of Part I poison, and the Antibiotics Ordinance (Cap 137) for illegal possession of antibiotics. The maximum penalty for the former is $100,000 and two years' imprisonment while that for the latter is $30,000 and one year's imprisonment. The DH will also refer this case to the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong for possible disciplinary action.

     Members of the public who have been prescribed with medicines by the above CMP who feel unwell or are in doubt should consult health-care professionals as soon as possible. They should submit the medicines to the DH's Chinese Medicine Division at 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, during office hours for disposal.

Ends/Friday, October 10, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:26


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