HSA Alert: 'Li Da' and 'Chapter Plus' Sold Online Found to Contain Banned Substance Sibutramine

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public not to purchase or consume two slimming products ‘Li Da Weight Loss Capsule (‘Li Da’)’ and ‘Chapter Plus By BackSlim (‘Chapter Plus’)’ as they contain an undeclared and banned substance, sibutramine, which poses serious health risks. HSA had tested both products and found them to contain sibutramine. Both products were found to be sold on various local online platforms. Our preliminary investigations showed that a number of people may have bought the products online.

Please refer to Annex A of the pdf version for photos of the products.

Dangers of illegal slimming products sold online

2    Sibutramine has been withdrawn in Singapore since 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. In recent years, HSA has detected several slimming products adulterated with sibutramine. These have caused serious adverse effects in our consumers, including breathing difficulties, palpitations, mood swings, hallucinations and hearing of voices.

3    The product ‘Li Da’ is similar to two other illegal slimming products “Li Da DAIDAIHUA Weight Loss Capsule’ and ‘Lida (Plus)’, which were detected to be adulterated with sibutramine by HSA and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration in November 2014 and March 2018 respectively[1],[2]. Both ‘Li Da’ and ‘Li Da DAIDAIHUA’ were falsely labelled to mislead consumers into thinking that they were diet supplements containing ‘100% herbal’ ingredients, with ‘no chemicals’ and carried claims that they ‘work fast’ with ‘no side effects’.

4    ‘Chapter Plus’ was falsely marketed as a ‘100% safe’ dietary supplement with ‘100% natural herbs’ and ‘no side effects’. A consumer complained of an increase in heart rate following the consumption of ‘Chapter Plus’ purchased online from a local company ‘OUR COCOMO Pte Ltd’. The company is currently assisting with HSA in its investigations.

Advisory to consumers

5    Consumers are advised to:

  • Stop taking ‘Li Da’ or ‘Chapter Plus’ 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 and extreme claims such as ‘100% safe’ and ‘no side effects’.
  • Do not trust online product reviews, as these testimonials usually cannot be verified. If they seem too good to be true, they usually are.
  • Exercise caution when purchasing health products online, especially from unfamiliar websites and if the products carry exaggerated claims. Anyone can sell health products 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.

6    HSA has produced a short video on the risks associated with buying health products online. This video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/dmjl_bSqJgA.

Advisory to sellers and suppliers

7    All sellers and suppliers must stop selling ‘Li Da’ and ‘Chapter Plus’ immediately.

  • These are illegal products which contain banned ingredients.
  • 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.

8    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: hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg.

20 JULY 2018

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[2] https://www.tga.gov.au/alert/lida-plus-capsules

Healthcare professional, Industry member

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