Poisoning can occur when a harmful substance is swallowed, inhaled, or spilled on the skin or in the eyes. Bites and stings from insects and certain animals can also be poisonous. Some harmful substances can cause very mild symptoms like irritation in the mouth or nausea, while others can cause more serious symptoms and even death.

In Hong Kong, there are about 400 to 600 people killed and 4000 to 5000 people hospitalized every year due to poisoning. A rising trend of mortality due to poisoning has been observed in recent years. Realizing the importance of poisoning as a public health issue, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is committed to strengthening the capacities and facilities in the prevention and control of poisoning as a new initiative in the 2005 Policy Address. The initiative aims to enhance and coordinate the poison prevention and control efforts of relevant parties including the Department of Health (DH), the Hospital Authority (HA), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), other government departments and academic institutions in respect of poison information service, clinical service, laboratory analytical service and toxicovigilance.



The HKPCN, officially established on 21 April 2007, aims to provide quality services to prevent, manage and control poisoning in Hong Kong.

The four key components of the HKPCN include the Hong Kong Poison Information Centre at United Christian Hospital (UCH), the Poison Treatment Centre at Prince of Wales Hospital (PWH), the Toxicology Reference Laboratory at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), and the Toxicovigilance Section of DH. The components are integrated with the local health care system and public health services. The organization of the HKPCN is shown below:


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