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DoH warns against slimming products with banned and undeclared ingredients

The Department of Health has again appealed to members of the public not to buy or consume slimming products of unknown or doubtful composition as they may contain undeclared drug ingredients that are dangerous to health.

The appeal followed the DH's receipt of notification from the Hospital Authority about two cases involving two women who had a history of consuming slimming products.

The first case involved a 37-year-old woman who attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Princess Margaret Hospital for palpitation, dizziness, nausea and chest discomfort on November 4.

The patient revealed that she had taken a slimming product called Super Fat Burning Bomb, which was purchased from an unknown source in Shenzhen, for about a week. The HA's laboratory test on the product remnant showed the presence of banned drug ingredients - sibutramine and phenolphthalein.

"The DH is investigating whether the patient's symptoms are related to the consumption of the product. The patient is now in stable condition and no hospitalisation was required," a DH spokesman said.

     The second case related to a 43-year-old woman who was admitted to Caritas Medical Centre for hepatitis on October 23. The patient said she had taken a slimming product in the form of greenish capsules, which was also purchased from an unknown source in Shenzhen, for five days.

Laboratory testing on the product remnant conducted by the HA detected the banned drug ingredients sibutramine and phenolphthalein, as well as another Western drug, diclofenac. The DH's investigation showed that her hepatitis is not related to the consumption of the product. She is now in stable condition.

Sale of products containing banned Western drug ingredients is not allowed in Hong Kong. Sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products is an offence under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance. The maximum penalty is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.

The spokesman urged members of the public not to buy products of unknown or doubtful composition.

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