Public urged not to buy or consume slimming products with undeclared controlled and banned drug ingredients (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (December 8) appealed to the public not to buy or consume a slimming product, namely "simple heart SPECIFIC SLIMMING PRODUCT", as it was found to contain undeclared controlled and banned drug ingredients.    
     Acting upon a public complaint, the DH obtained sample of the above product via a social media platform for analysis. Test results from the Government Laboratory revealed that the sample contained sibutramine, N-desmethylsibutramine and frusemide which are all Part 1 poisons under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap. 138). The DH's investigation is continuing.  
     Sibutramine was once used as an appetite suppressant. Since November 2010, pharmaceutical products containing sibutramine have been banned in Hong Kong because of an increased cardiovascular risk. N-desmethylsibutramine is a substance structurally similar to sibutramine. Frusemide is a diuretic used in the treatment of high blood pressure, heart failure and oedema. Common adverse effects include feeling thirsty, dizziness, headaches and fast or irregular heartbeat.    
     According to the Ordinance, 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 unregistered pharmaceutical products or Part 1 poisons is a criminal offence. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.    
     The DH spokesman strongly urged members of the public not to buy products of unknown or doubtful composition, or to consume products from unknown sources. Members of the public who have purchased the above products should stop consuming them immediately. They should consult healthcare professionals for advice if feeling unwell after consumption.    
     The spokesman added that 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. They may visit the website of the Drug Office of the DH for "Health message on overweight problem and slimming products" and "Slimming products with undeclared Western drug ingredients" for information.    
     The public may submit the product to the Drug Office of the DH at Room 1801, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, during office hours for disposal.

Ends/Friday, December 8, 2023
Issued at HKT 17:00