Mong Kok retailers raided in illegal pharmaceuticals hunt

Three Mong Kok retailers were raided this week in a joint operation involving police and Department of Health officials.

The stores were reported to health officials by a member of the public who suspected the illegal sale and possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products.

“Preliminary investigation indicated that the external preparations seized during the operation contained controlled ingredients including hydrocortisone, prednisolone, triamcinolone acetonide and clindamycin,” a DoH spokesman said.

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“Hydrocortisone, prednisolone and triamcinolone acetonide are Part 1 poisons, which are steroidal drugs for treating inflammation. Inappropriate or excessive application of the drugs could cause skin problems.

Clindamycin is an antibiotic used for treating bacterial infection and may cause side-effects such as hypersensitive reactions. Part 1 poisons and antibiotics should be used under the advice of medical practitioners,” the spokesman said.

Investigations are ongoing.

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According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance, all pharmaceutical products must be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong before they can be sold legally in the market. Illegal sale and 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. In addition, the Antibiotics Ordinance also prohibits illegal sale and possession of antibiotics. Offenders are liable to a maximum penalty of a $30,000 fine and one year’s imprisonment for each offence.

The DH strongly urged members of the public not to buy or use unregistered pharmaceutical products as their safety, efficacy and quality are not guaranteed. All registered pharmaceutical products should carry a Hong Kong registration number on the package in the format of “HK-XXXXX”.

People who have purchased the above products should stop using them and consult healthcare professionals if they are in doubt or feeling unwell after use.They may submit the products 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.

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