Public urged not to buy or consume slimming product with undeclared banned ingredient (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (November 7) appealed to the public not to buy or consume a slimming product as it was found to contain an undeclared and banned drug ingredient that might be dangerous to health. The product is called "Slim fast" with two different types of packaging (see photo).

     Acting upon intelligence, samples of the product were purchased from an Internet seller for analysis. Test results from the Government Laboratory revealed that the samples contain sibutramine.

     The DH's investigation is continuing.

     Sibutramine is a Part 1 poison and was once used as an appetite suppressant. Since November 2010, products containing sibutramine have been banned in Hong Kong because of increased cardiovascular risk.

     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 legally sold in the market. Illegal sale or possession of Part 1 poisons and unregistered pharmaceutical products are criminal offences. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.

     The DH strongly urged the public not to buy or consume 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. Safety, quality and efficacy of unregistered pharmaceutical products are not guaranteed.

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

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

Ends/Monday, November 7, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:29