Woman arrested for illegal Internet sale of unregistered pharmaceutical product with controlled drug ingredient

A 65-year-old woman was arrested today (January 8) for the illegal sale of an unregistered pharmaceutical product called "Lidiprine Cream", which contains a Part I poison, during a joint operation by the Police and the Department of Health (DH) in Tuen Mun.

While investigating of a public complaint, the DH found that the above product was being offered for sale on the Internet. The product is labelled as containing lidocaine, a Part I poison. A Hong Kong pharmaceutical product registration number was not found on the product label.

During the operation, the Police arrested the woman for the illegal sale of an unregistered pharmaceutical product and sale of Part I poison.

Lidocaine is commonly used as a local anaesthetic to relieve pain or desensitise skin before minor operations. Common side effects include hypersensitivity reactions.

According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138), all pharmaceutical products must be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong (the Board) before they can be sold legally in the market. Part I poisons should be sold at pharmacies under the supervision of registered pharmacists.

The sale 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 continuing.

A DH spokesperson strongly urged members of the public not to buy or use unregistered pharmaceutical products from the market or the Internet as such products have not been evaluated by the Board and their safety, quality and efficacy may not be guaranteed. Members of the public should consult health-care professionals for advice if they are in doubt or feeling unwell after using the product concerned.

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 unregistered product with no registration number should stop using it immediately. They can submit it 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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