SINGAPORE - The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Tuesday (March 1) issued a public health and safety alert over counterfeit eye drops sold at two shops in Singapore.
The products were fraudulently labelled as "EYE MO Regular" (7.5 ml) and "EYE MO Moist" (7.5 ml) from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). HSA found them to be of poor quality with bacterial contamination.
This is the first case of counterfeit eye drops being sold by shops in Singapore.
HSA, which is conducting further investigations, said it was first alerted to possible counterfeit items being sold at a provision shop late last year.
The products were immediately seized by HSA, with GSK confirming its counterfeit nature.
HSA said it had since conducted islandwide surveillance and seized similar counterfeit eye drops from another shop. It added that the quantities seized were "limited".
The two shops in question were Eskimo Frozen Foods Pte Ltd, located at 36 Chai Chee Avenue, and H.J. Ventures Pte Ltd at 150A Bishan Street 11.
Based on HSA's investigations, the counterfeit Eye Mo products were only sold in 7.5ml pack sizes, while genuine Eye Mo products are available in sizes of 7.5ml, 9ml, 15ml and 18ml.
The fake bottles and cartons were also printed with the following batch numbers and manufacturing date combinations, which have never been used by GSK:
- Combination 1 (Eye Mo Regular) : Batch Number: 15106160, Manufacturing Date: 06/03/15
- Combination 2 (Eye Mo Regular) : Batch Number: 15025028, Manufacturing Date: 18/03/15
- Combination 3 (Eye Mo Moist) : Batch Number: 15004105, Manufacturing Date: 30/04/15
HSA warned that counterfeit eye drops can cause serious harm to users as they are administered directly on the eyes.
In this case, the eye drops were contaminated with bacteria, which can cause eye infections and potentially lead to serious complications such as corneal ulcers (open sores in the outer layer of the eye) and blindness.
In addition, counterfeit eye drops carries a higher risk of infection if users have had recent ocular surgery or pre-existing diseases such as diabetes mellitus.
Consumers who suspect they may have purchased counterfeit Eye Mo products are advised to contact GSK at 1800-622-7238 or email@example.com.
HSA advised those who experience any adverse reactions such as severe eye irritation, redness, blurred vision, pain, light sensitivity, unusual discomfort after using the counterfeit eye drops to consult a doctor immediately.
It added that the public should be wary when purchasing health products from door-to-door salesmen or dubious online sites, as it cannot be ascertained where and how these products were manufactured.
Members of the public who are aware of counterfeit health products being sold by retailers or online are encouraged to contact HSA's enforcement branch at 6866-3485 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any person found to be selling or distributing counterfeit health products are liable to a penalty of $100,000 and/or a jail term of up to three years if convicted.