HSA stops sales of Anyang Herbal products which contain banned weight-loss drug

Anyang Herbal Blue which contains high levels of an illegal weight-loss drug.
Anyang Herbal Blue which contains high levels of an illegal weight-loss drug.PHOTO: HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY
Anyang Herbal Red which contains high levels of an illegal weight-loss drug as well as potent western medicines.
Anyang Herbal Red which contains high levels of an illegal weight-loss drug as well as potent western medicines.PHOTO: HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY

SINGAPORE - Two products marketed as herbal weight-loss remedies contain high levels of a banned substance, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Monday (March 6).

HSA warned consumers to stop taking Anyang Herbal Blue and Anyang Herbal Red, which contain very high levels of banned substance sibutramin.

A woman in her late 20s complained of heart palpitations, nausea, trembling of hands and legs, sweating, insomnia and illusions after consuming Anyang Herbal Blue, it said.

Based on the labelled dosing instructions of the two products, a consumer would be consuming as much as eight times the maximum allowable amount of sibutramine per day.

"These dangerously high levels... would predispose consumers to serious adverse effects," HSA said.

In the past, several consumers have also reported experiencing hallucinations, hearing voices and breathlessness after consuming products containing high levels of sibutramine.

In addition, Anyang Herbal Red was tested to contain undeclared potent western medicines: painkiller diclofenac and phenolphthalein, a laxative.

The pills were sold online and through direct selling by Jessie Cosmetics. HSA has stopped the sales of the products and the seller is assisting in the agency's investigation.

HSA advised members of the public to consult a doctor if they are unwell or if they are concerned about their health, and warned other sellers to stop sales immediately.

Sibutramine was previously available as a prescription-only weight loss drug but was withdrawn from Singapore since 2010, due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Other possible serious adverse effects include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings.

Anyone convicted of supplying illegal health products can be jailed for up to three years and/or fined up to $100,000.

Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of any illegal products can call 6866-3485 during office hours or e-mail: hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg.