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.

Doctors are to be banned from carrying out high-risk medical procedures in beauty salons or other private premises without the approval of the Department of Health.

New rules will help keep beauty treatments safe

Medical entrepreneurship poses new problems for the profession, which dislikes regulation, and for the government, which likes to focus regulation on the public hospital environment and otherwise keep the doctor-patient relationship at arms length, under professional self-regulation. As a result, according to one member of a Food and Health Bureau working group panel set up to investigate medical regulation, there is nothing to define what procedures a doctor can perform outside a hospital.