Risky Blood Therapy
One woman died and three were critically ill after paying HK$50,000 in October 2012 for "anti-cancer" blood transfusion therapy at a beauty centre. In the procedure, blood is drawn from the patient, then processed to harvest the "cytokine-induced killer cells", or CIK, found in the white blood cells. The CIK cells are multiplied in a culture solution and injected into the patient along with their own blood after two weeks. The founder of the DR beauty company that carried out the treatment, Dr Stephen Chow Heung-wing, has admitted there was no evidence the treatment worked.
Beauty clinic guidelines will have some legal force, minister says
Guidelines for the beauty industry to be drawn up by a government committee after four women fell dangerously ill following blood transfusions would have "certain functions in law enforcement" even though they were not legally binding, the health minister said yesterday.
Dr Ko Wing-man was speaking a day after Medical Association president Dr Tse Hung-hing questioned the use of guidelines and doubted they would be legally enforceable.
The committee was set up after one of the four women who suffered septic shock following supposedly therapeutic transfusions at branches of DR Beauty died. The other three remain in hospital; one of them, a 56-year-old woman surnamed Wong, is in critical condition.
Dr Ko, the Secretary for Food and Health, said the guidelines would make a distinction between beauty treatments and medical procedures.
"We hope to launch the guideline as soon as possible, in the next few months. It will not be legally binding, but as long as it is proposed by the Department of Health and the industry for reference it will have certain functions in law enforcement," Dr Ko said.
A working group under the committee will also look into laboratory standards if treatments involved procedures at such facilities, he said. The Department of Health may carry out inspections at such laboratories, Dr Ko added.
Medical Council chairman Professor Joseph Lau Wan-yee said the council had suspended its work on the case after police began a criminal investigation into the matter.
The council normally launches investigations after receiving complaints, but can also initiate investigations into incidents that raised widespread public concern, he said. It would resume its probe after the conclusion of the police investigation, he added.
On Saturday police questioned the boss of DR Beauty, which has 40 centres in the city.
Meanwhile, lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who has been assisting the son of Wong, disputed the claims of a man, known only as Mr Leung, who has said he is acting on behalf of Wong's family.
Wong's son had said he did not know who this Mr Leung was, according to To. "It's very suspicious," he said. But Leung responded that Wong had asked him to fight for her rights.