The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) alerted members of the public not to purchase or consume two slimming products ‘Body Slim Herbal’ and ‘Sparkle Twins’.
In a press release on Thursday (16 August), HSA stated that it had tested both products and found them to contain an undeclared and banned substance, sibutramine, which poses serious health risks. Both products were detected through HSA’s surveillance and were found to be sold on various online platforms.
Sibutramine has been withdrawn in Singapore since 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
In recent years, HSA stated that it has detected several slimming products adulterated with sibutramine. These have caused serious adverse effects in our consumers, including breathing difficulties, palpitations, hallucinations or hearing voices.
According to the authority, Body Slim Herbal was falsely labelled to be ‘100% natural’ for ‘quick effect, faster weight loss’. It also claimed to be ‘free of side effects’. ‘Sparkle Twins’ was also falsely labelled to contain only natural ingredients and was marketed as a ‘Lemon & Pomegranate Flavour’ drink to promote weight loss. Both products were tested by HSA to contain sibutramine.
According to Wikipedia, Sibutramine, formerly sold under the brand name Meridia among others, is an appetite suppressant which has been discontinued in many countries. Until 2010, it was widely marketed and prescribed as an adjunct in the treatment of obesity along with diet and exercise.
It has been associated with increased cardiovascular events and strokes and has been withdrawn from the market in several countries and regions including Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, the drug remains available in some countries.
HSA advised consumers to stop taking ‘Body Slim Herbal’ or ‘Sparkle Twins’ immediately, and consult a doctor if you feel unwell or are concerned about your health, Be wary of health products that promise or deliver quick and miraculous weight loss, or carry exaggerated claims such as ‘100% safe’ and ‘no side effects’.
It also reminds consumers not to trust online product reviews, as these testimonials usually cannot be verified, noting that if they seem too good to be true, they usually are.
HSA then asked members of the public to exercise caution when purchasing health products online, especially from unfamiliar websites.
"Anyone can be a seller on these e-commerce platforms. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made. They could potentially be counterfeits or adulterated with undeclared potent or banned ingredients which can seriously harm your health," it said.
HSA told all sellers and suppliers must stop selling ‘Body Slim Herbal’ and ‘Sparkle Twins’ immediately.
It stressed that these are illegal products which contain banned substances and anyone who supplies illegal health products is liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to 3 years and/or fined up to $100,000.
Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of these illegal products may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at Tel: 6866-3485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or email: [email protected]