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DH raids retail shops for suspected illegal sale and possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (May 14) raided two retail shops in Sheung Shui for suspected illegal sale and possession of Part I poisons and unregistered pharmaceutical products.

     During the DH's market surveillance, it was found that the shops were offering for sale various types of cold and cough liquid medicines labelled in Japanese for children. They are suspected to be unregistered pharmaceutical products as Hong Kong registration numbers could not be found on any of them. These liquid medicines were labelled as containing methylephedrine as one of the active ingredients. One of them was also labelled as containing dihydrocodeine.

     Medicines containing methylephedrine or dihydrocodeine are Part I poisons. They are mainly used in preparations for the relief of cold and cough symptoms. Side effects of methylephedrine include tachycardia, anxiety, restlessness and insomnia while dihydrocodeine may cause nausea, vomiting and constipation. Parents should not use cough and cold medicines to treat children aged under 6 without advice from health-care professionals.

     According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138), all pharmaceutical products must be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong before they can be sold legally in the market. Part I poisons should be sold at pharmacies under the supervision of registered pharmacists. Illegal sale or possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products and Part I poisons are criminal offences. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of $100,000 and two years' imprisonment.

     The DH's investigation is ongoing.

     A spokesman for the DH strongly urged members of the public not to buy or use unregistered pharmaceutical products from the market as such products have not been evaluated by the Board and their safety, quality and efficacy are not guaranteed. All registered pharmaceutical products should carry a Hong Kong registration number on the package in the format of "HK-XXXXX".

     Members of the public who have bought the above products should stop using them immediately. They should consult health-care professionals for advice if they are in doubt or their children feel unwell after using the products concerned. They may submit them to the DH's Drug Office at Room 1856, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, during office hours for disposal.

Ends/Thursday, May 14, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:50


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