All doctors must follow rules on drug use, minister warns

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 January, 2008, 12:00am

Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok has urged doctors to comply with the Code of Practice in prescribing drugs after slimming pills containing a dangerous drug were found in a doctor's clinic at a well-known beauty chain in Central.

The Department of Health warned the public on Thursday not to use the slimming pills dispensed by Cheung Ying-kit's clinic at the Sau San Tong Healthy Trim Institute in Central.

The capsules were found to contain the drug fenfluramine, which was banned in Hong Kong in 1998 because of its serious side effects.

Officiating at a public event yesterday, Dr Chow said all doctors had to comply with the Code of Practice as long as they were acting in a professional capacity.

'No matter what the relationship is between the beauty company and the doctor, as long as the doctor is prescribing drugs in any circumstances, he has to comply with the Code of Practice.'

Dr Chow said the investigation was continuing, 'yet there is no doubt the doctor of the clinic has to take the responsibility for stocking or prescribing the drugs to others'.

The banned drug, which can cause deadly heart disease, was found during a routine monitoring inspection by the Department of Health in August.

Sau San Tong's founder and chairwoman, former actress Shirley Cheung Yuk-shan, said the pills had never been prescribed to clients and were only used for training.