Man arrested for suspected illegal sale of unregistered pharmaceutical product (with photo)

25 July 2019
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The Department of Health (DH) and the Police today (July 25) conducted a joint operation, during which a 62-year-old man was arrested for suspected illegal sale of an unregistered pharmaceutical product and Part 1 poison.

Acting upon intelligence, the DH purchased a sample of a topical product named Xingfuhuli Plant Essential Oil at a retail stall in Ap Lei Chau for analysis. Test results from the Government Laboratory revealed that the sample contained diclofenac, which is a Part 1 poison controlled under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138).

Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which can be used topically to relieve pain. It should be supplied at pharmacies under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. Inappropriate use of diclofenac may cause erythema and dermatitis. Pharmaceutical products should be used under the advice of healthcare professionals.

The DH's investigation is continuing.

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 and Part 1 poisons are criminal offences. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.

All registered pharmaceutical products carry a Hong Kong registration number on the package in the format HK-XXXXX. The safety, quality and efficacy of unregistered pharmaceutical products are not guaranteed. 

A spokesman for the DH urged members of the public not to buy or use products of doubtful composition or from unknown sources. People who have purchased the above product should stop using it and consult healthcare professionals if they are in doubt or feeling unwell after use. 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.


Reposted from HKSAR Government webpage: