SINGAPORE - The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has advised the public to avoid buying or consuming two slimming products sold online - Li Da Weight Loss Capsule and Chapter Plus By BackSlim.
Tests showed that the products contained a banned substance known as sibutramine, which poses serious health risks, HSA said in a statement on Friday (July 20).
Sibutramine has been banned in Singapore since 2010 as it causes an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Other side effects of consumption include breathing difficulties, palpitations, mood swings and hallucinations.
HSA said Li Da was falsely labelled as containing 100 per cent herbal ingredients with no chemicals. It also carried claims that it would work fast and have no side effects, said the HSA.
Two other illegal slimming products with similar names, Li Da Daidaihua Weight Loss Capsule and Lida (Plus), were found to contain sibutramine in November 2014 and March 2018, respectively.
HSA said that Chapter Plus was falsely marketed as containing 100 per cent natural herbs. It also claimed to be 100 per cent safe and have no side effects, HSA added.
At least one buyer complained of increased heart rate after consuming Chapter Plus bought from a local company, Our Cocomo. The company is assisting HSA in its investigations.
In its statement, HSA advised consumers who have taken Li Da or Chapter Plus to consult a doctor if they feel unwell.
Consumers should be wary of health products that promise to deliver quick and miraculous weight loss or carry exaggerated and extreme claims, said HSA.
Online product reviews should also not be trusted as they usually cannot be verified, it said. When buying health products online, consumers should exercise caution, HSA added.
"Anyone can sell health products on these e-commerce platforms. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made," HSA said.
"They could potentially be counterfeits or adulterated with undeclared potent or banned ingredients which can seriously harm your health."
HSA has ordered all sellers and suppliers to stop sales of both products immediately. Anyone convicted of selling illegal health products may be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $100,000.
The public can contact HSA's enforcement branch on 6866-3485 during office hours or e-mail email@example.com if they have any information on the sale and supply of illegal products.