The Department of Health (DH) today (November 17) appealed to the public not to buy or use a topical product (labelled as "草本護膚膏" with no English name) as it was found to contain an undeclared controlled drug ingredient.
Acting upon a public complaint, the DH collected a sample of the above product from a premises in Wan Chai for analysis. The test result from the Government Laboratory revealed that the product sample contained triamcinolone acetonide, which is a Part 1 poison under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap. 138). The product is also suspected to be an unregistered pharmaceutical product.
The DH today conducted an operation against the above premises. During the operation, two women aged 45 and 60 were arrested by the Police for suspected illegal sale of a Part 1 poison and unregistered pharmaceutical product. The DH's investigation is continuing.
Triamcinolone acetonide is a steroid substance for treating inflammation. Inappropriate application of steroids could cause skin problems and systemic side effects such as moon face, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, adrenal insufficiency and osteoporosis. Products containing triamcinolone acetonide are prescription medicines that should be used under a doctor's directions and be supplied in a pharmacy under the supervision of a registered pharmacist upon a doctor's prescription.
According to the Ordinance, all pharmaceutical products must be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong before they can be sold in the market. Illegal sale or possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products or Part 1 poisons are criminal offences. 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 or use 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". The safety, quality and efficacy of unregistered pharmaceutical products are not guaranteed.
People who have purchased the product concerned should stop using it immediately and consult healthcare professionals if in doubt or feeling unwell after use. They 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.
Reposted from HKSAR Government webpage: