25-year-old woman arrested for suspected illegal sale of unregistered pharmaceutical product

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15th January 2020 – (Hong Kong) The Department of Health (DH) conducted an operation today against the sale of an unregistered pharmaceutical product, during which a 25-year-old woman was arrested by the Police for illegal sale of an unregistered pharmaceutical product and a Part 1 poison.

Acting upon a public complaint, a medicinal patch labelled in Japanese as containing felbinac, a Part 1 poison under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (PPO) (Cap 138), was found being offered for sale via a social media platform. The operation today revealed that the product label does not bear a Hong Kong pharmaceutical product registration number. The investigation is ongoing.     

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

According to the PPO, 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

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

Those who have purchased the above product should stop using it and consult healthcare professionals for advice if in doubt or feeling unwell after use. They can submit the product to the DH’s Drug Office at Room 1801, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, during office hours for disposal.

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