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Retail shop raided for suspected illegal sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products (with photo)

     A retail shop in Causeway Bay was raided today (January 28) in a joint operation by the Department of Health (DH) and the Police for suspected illegal sale and possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products that were labelled to contain Part I poison and antibiotic.

     Acting upon a public compliant, it was found that the retail shop was offering for sale of a cream product which was labelled to contain fluocinonide and two cream products which were labelled to contain erythromycin. Fluocinonide is a part I poison whereas erythromycin is an antibiotic. Products containing fluocinonide or erythromycin are prescription medicines which should only be used under the advice of a medical doctor and could only be supplied at pharmacies under the supervision of a registered pharmacist upon doctor's prescription.

     During the operation today, a man aged 83 and a woman aged 61 were arrested by the Police for suspected illegal sale and possession of Part I poisons, unregistered pharmaceutical products and antibiotics.

     The investigation is continuing.

     Fluocinonide is a kind of steroid. Prolonged usage or appliation on large skin area could induce body-wide side effects like moon face, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, muscle atrophy, adrenal insufficiency and even osteoporosis. Erythromycin is used topically for treatment of microbial infection of skin, side effects include pruritus and skin rash.

     According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138), illegal sale and possession of Part I poisons and unregistered pharmaceutical products are criminal offences. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment. In addition, the Antibiotics Ordinance (Cap 137) also prohibits illegal sale and possession of antibiotics. Offenders are liable to a maximum penalty of $30,000 fine and one year's imprisonment for each offence.

     DH spokesman urged members of the public not to use controlled medicines on their own without advice from a doctor. All registered pharmaceutical products should carry a Hong Kong registration number on the label in the format of "HK-XXXXX". Safety, quality and efficacy of unregistered pharmaceutical products are not guaranteed.

     People who have purchased the above products should stop using them and consult health-care professionals if they are in doubt or feeling unwell after use. They can submit the products 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.

Ends/Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:19


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