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Four Products Found to Contain Banned Substance Sibutramine; One Consumer Had Adverse Effects

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public not to purchase or consume four products marketed online as weight loss products. Contrary to the ingredients listed on the packaging, HSA’s analysis of these products revealed that they contained the banned substance, sibutramine, which can cause serious adverse effects in consumers. The four products are:

  • ‘Flash Slim’
  • ‘Leedee Botanical Beverage Mix Pineapple Juice Powder with African Mango’
  • ‘Quinn S Amyera’
  • ‘Schocolite Double Chocolate Cookies Drink with Hoodia Gordinii Extract and L-Carnitine’

2        The products were sold on local e-commerce and social media platforms. HSA has worked with the platform administrators to promptly remove the affected listings and issued warnings to the respective sellers. Please refer to Annex A of the pdf version for photos of the products that were analysed by HSA.

Adverse effects and reports from consumers

3        A male consumer was taken in by an advertisement of ‘Flash Slim’ posted on an e-commerce website, which claimed that the product was “15x more effective to burn stubborn fat” with “results guaranteed within 1-5 days”. Although he lost some weight after taking the product due to the effect of sibutramine, he also experienced serious adverse effects such as palpitations, nausea, insomnia and excessive sweating. Continued intake of the product could lead to serious health consequences.

4        HSA also received feedback from members of the public who suspected that ‘Leedee Botanical Beverage Mix Pineapple Juice Powder with African Mango’, ‘Quinn S Amyera’ and ‘Schocolite Double Chocolate Cookies Drink with Hoodia Gordinii Extract and L-Carnitine’ may contain potent ingredients because of the exaggerated claims made. These slimming products were marketed to “burn fats quickly”, “show results [in] as early as 7 to 14 days” and “increase metabolism”.

5        All four products reported to HSA were tested to contain sibutramine. Sibutramine was a prescription-only weight loss medicine in Singapore but has been banned since 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attack and strokes. Other serious adverse effects reported in the past by consumers who took products adulterated with sibutramine include insomnia and hallucinations. In 2019, a consumer experienced extremely fast heart rate and became unconscious. She was resuscitated and suffered debilitating consequences requiring the implantation of a defibrillator (a medical device) to help her heart to function.

Advisory to consumers

6        Consumers are advised to:

  • Stop taking these products immediately and consult a doctor if you feel unwell or are concerned about your health.
  • Be wary of products that carry exaggerated claims of fast weight loss without the need for exercise or diet control, or that deliver unexpectedly quick effects. They can contain potent ingredients that can seriously harm your health.
  • Exercise caution when buying such products online or from well-meaning friends. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made. They can contain potent ingredients which can seriously harm your health.
  • There is no quick and easy way to lose weight. Weight control should be achieved through a combination of balanced diet and appropriate exercise. If you need help managing your weight, please consult your doctor, dietitian or a healthcare professional.

Advisory to sellers and suppliers 

7        All sellers and suppliers must stop selling these products immediately. HSA will not hesitate to take stern enforcement actions against anyone who sells and supplies products found to be adulterated with banned substances or potent medicinal ingredients. Sellers and suppliers are liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to 2 years and/or fined up to $10,000.

8        Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of this illegal product may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at Tel: 6866-3485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or email: hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg.

HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY
SINGAPORE
25 MARCH 2021

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