HSA seizes $21k worth of illegal health items

The HSA seized more than 25,000 units of illegal health products during Operation Pangea, a 10-day crackdown led by Interpol. Among the products seized were steroids and sleeping pills.
The HSA seized more than 25,000 units of illegal health products during Operation Pangea, a 10-day crackdown led by Interpol. Among the products seized were steroids and sleeping pills.PHOTO: HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has seized about $21,000 worth of health products being sold illegally in a 10-day crackdown led by Interpol.

Eight people are assisting the agency in investigations, it said.

From May 29 to June 7, the HSA scrutinised Singapore websites touting potentially dangerous health products. It seized over 25,000 products including anabolic steroids, sleeping pills, pregnancy test kits, and medicinal drugs for infertility and weight loss. One of the biggest hauls was 5,812 units of anabolic steroids with a street value of about $13,000.

Three suspects were selling the prescription-only medicines on e-commerce websites and at local gyms at double the price they had paid, the HSA said.

They marketed them as being able to increase muscle mass, strength and help with weight loss.

The steroids can cause side effects such as insomnia, irritability, aggressive behaviour, hypertension, liver cancer, development of prominent breasts in men and impotence.

The HSA raids were part of Operation Pangea, an Interpol-led exercise against the illegal online sale of counterfeit and unlicensed medicines.

Chew Hui Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2016, with the headline 'HSA seizes $21k worth of illegal health items'. Print Edition | Subscribe