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DH raids retail shop for suspected illegal sale and possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (October 14) raided a retail shop in Mong Kok for suspected illegal sale and possession of Part I poisons and unregistered pharmaceutical products.

     Following a public complaint, it was found that the above retail shop has been offering for sale various unregistered pharmaceutical products. During today's operation, various painkillers, eye drops and cold and cough medicines, all labelled in Japanese, were seized. Preliminary investigation indicated that the products were suspected to respectively contain ibuprofen, neostigmine, dihydrocodeine and methylephedrine. A Hong Kong pharmaceutical product registration number was not found on any of the products' labels.

     The DH's investigation is ongoing.

     Ibuprofen, neostigmine, dihydrocodeine and methylephedrine are Part I poisons. Side effects of ibuprofen include gastrointestinal bleeding while eye-drops with neostigmine may cause ocular pain and irritation as well as blurred vision. Side effects of methylephedrine include tachycardia, anxiety, restlessness and insomnia, while dihydrocodeine may cause nausea, vomiting and constipation.

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

     "Use of unregistered pharmaceutical products may pose health threats to people as the products' safety, efficacy and quality are not guaranteed. Members of the public should not self-medicate without advice from healthcare professionals," a spokesman for the DH explained.

     The DH strongly urges members of the public not to buy or use unregistered pharmaceutical products. All registered pharmaceutical products should carry a Hong Kong registration number on the package in the format of "HK-XXXXX".

     People who have purchased and used the above products should stop using them and consult healthcare professionals for advice if they feel unwell. They may 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, October 14, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:37


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