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Public urged not to buy or consume slimming product with undeclared Western medicine ingredients (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (November 4) appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume a slimming product called Mezo as it was found to contain undeclared Western medicine ingredients.

     During the DH's market surveillance, Mezo was found to be offered for sale over the Internet. A sample was purchased for analysis. Test results from the Government Laboratory revealed that the product contains orlistat and lorcaserin.

     The DH's investigation is continuing.

     Orlistat and lorcaserin are used for the treatment of obesity. Orlistat is a Part I poison and its side effects include faecal urgency, fatty stool, increased defaecation, faecal incontinence, headache and abdominal pain. Severe liver injuries may also develop in rare cases. Side effects of lorcaserin include headache, dizziness, depression and suicidal ideation.

     Products containing orlistat and lorcaserin are pharmaceutical products and must be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong (the Board) before they can be legally sold in the market. Part I poisons should be sold at pharmacies under the supervision of registered pharmacists. According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138), illegal sale or possession of Part I poisons and unregistered pharmaceutical products are criminal offences and the maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.

     A DH spokesman strongly urged members of the public not buy or use products of doubtful composition or from unknown sources. All registered pharmaceutical products should carry a Hong Kong registration number on the package in the format of HK-XXXXX. Unregistered pharmaceutical products have not been evaluated by the Board and their safety, quality and efficacy are not guaranteed.

     People who have purchased the above product should stop using it immediately and consult healthcare professionals if they are in doubt or feel unwell after use. They can submit the product to the DH's Drug Office at Room 1856, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, during office hours for disposal.

     "Weight control should be achieved through a balanced diet and appropriate exercise. The public should consult health-care professionals before using any medication for weight control," the spokesman said.

Ends/Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:25


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