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DH orders recall of slimming health product

  • 2005.02.18

The Department of Health (DH) today (February 18) advised people not to buy or use a slimming health product called Absolean.

The product, which was not registered under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance, was found to have contained a Western drug ingredient, sibutramine.

Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant. Its adverse effects include increasing blood pressure and heart rate. People with heart or circulatory system problems should not take it.

The importer has been instructed to recall the product from the market and to surrender them to the department.

"Products containing sibutramine are pharmaceutical products and must be registered before sale,¡¨ a department spokesman said. "Pharmaceutical products containing this drug ingredient are Third Schedule poisons under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance which can only be sold on a doctor's prescription."

People who have purchased the products should immediately stop using them and seek medical advice if they feel unwell. They are advised to dispose of them, return them to the importer or submit them to the Pharmaceutical Service of DH at 3/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon during office hours.

People may call the importer¡¦s hotline at 2511 1213 for matters relating to the recall.

The department has also set up a hotline 2319 2839 for enquiries during office hours. This hotline will extend its service until 7pm today.

The spokesman reminded importers and retailers that the possession and sale of unregistered pharmaceutical products was an offence liable to a maximum penalty of $100,000 fine and two years' imprisonment.

"People should control their weight in terms of observing good dietary practice and appropriate physical activities. Before using drugs for weight reduction, they should first consult their family doctors," he added.

Reprinted from HKSAR Government web page: