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Mainlanders flock to HK for cheaper medicines

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-29 08:40

HONG KONG -- Shoppers from the mainland who have shunned Hong Kong dispensaries because of the milk powder ban implemented earlier this year are now returning to this special administrative region with a new shopping list targeting anti-cancer drugs which could be as much as 10,000 yuan (about $1,632) cheaper than in the mainland.

While mainland visitors are enjoying a better deal, medical professions warned them to beware of fake drugs and that another out-of-stock wave might emerge.

Apart from medicines that can be found in most domestic medicine chests, drugs for treating serious illnesses like cancer on sale in Hong Kong are growing more and more popular among mainland visitors, according to Xinhua's investigation following recent media reports about the non-local consumers' great demand for the drugs.

Not only are drugstores in traditional tourism spots here such as Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui cramming with mainland tourists but also those located at less centralized places, including the Western district of the city, a local report said.

"People from the mainland trust Hong Kong brands due to their good quality and they mainly buy medicines of general types," a shop assistant from Cheung Tai Dispensary in Wanchai said.

Mainland buyers' confidence on Hong Kong-made drugs has been buttressed when some products made in China encountered some problems.

Mi Luofu, a mainlander working in this city, told Xinhua that she been sending medicines for children's use back to her hometown every month.

Aside from good quality, mainlanders prefer to buy medicines in Hong Kong because they are a lot cheaper.

For example, a pack of herceptin, a drug for breast cancer, is selling at 14,800 yuan in a Hong Kong dispensary in the Western district, while the same product costs 24,500 yuan in the mainland, with a difference of 10,000 yuan, according to a report by People's Daily earlier this month.

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