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Another illegal medicine raid

Another day, another raid, as the Department of Health continues its clampdown on the sale of illegal medicines.
Yesterday it was a store in Mong Kok, where officials found Part 1 poisons and unregistered pharmaceutical products offered for sale.
The DH said the enforcement action followed a complaint from a member of the public. Officials discovered “various unregistered pharmaceutical products” during the operation. Painkillers, eye drops and cold and cough medicines, all labelled in Japanese, were seized.
“Preliminary investigation indicated the products were suspected to respectively contain ibuprofen, neostigmine, dihydrocodeine and methylephedrine. A Hong Kong pharmaceutical product registration number was not found on any of the products’ labels,” said the DH.
Ibuprofen, neostigmine, dihydrocodeine and methylephedrine are Part I poisons. Side effects of ibuprofen include gastrointestinal bleeding while eye-drops with neostigmine may cause ocular pain and irritation as well as blurred vision. Side effects of methylephedrine include tachycardia, anxiety, restlessness and insomnia, while dihydrocodeine may cause nausea, vomiting and constipation.
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.
“Use of unregistered pharmaceutical products may pose health threats to people as the products’ safety, efficacy and quality are not guaranteed. Members of the public should not self-medicate without advice from healthcare professionals,” a spokesman for the DH said.
Yesterday’s raid followed Inside Retail Hong Kong’s report yesterday detailing the testing of an illegal weight loss product being sold by another Hong Kong retailer.
The DH has again urged the public not to buy or use unregistered pharmaceutical products. All registered pharmaceutical products should carry a Hong Kong registration number on the package in the format of “HK-XXXXX”.

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