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HSA Alert: ‘D’sihat Herba Gout & Sendi’ & ‘Yanwo Chongcao Yanyin Qinfei Huatan Dan’ Found to Contain Potent Medicinal Ingredients; One Consumer Hospitalised, Another Had Serious Adverse Effects

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public not to purchase or consume two adulterated products, namely ‘D’SIHAT HERBA GOUT & SENDI’ and ‘Yanwo Chongcao Yanyin Qinfei Huatan Dan’ (‘海马牌燕窝冬虫夏草 養陰清肺化痰丹’). HSA’s analysis of the products revealed that they contained steroids and other potent medicinal ingredients which can cause serious adverse effects in consumers.

Product name

Potent medicinal ingredients



Dexamethasone (steroid);

Chlorpheniramine, Promethazine (antihistamines)

Obtained from Malaysia through a friend

‘Yanwo Chongcao Yanyin Qinfei Huatan Dan’

‘海马牌燕窝冬虫夏草 養陰清肺化痰丹’

Dexamethasone, Prednisolone (steroids);

Chlorpheniramine, Promethazine (antihistamines)

Obtained from Malaysia through a friend


Please refer to Annex A for photos of the product and Annex B for more information on the medicinal ingredients found in the product.

Two consumers experienced steroid-induced adverse effects

2        A woman in her 50s developed Cushing’s syndrome (a serious steroid-induced condition characterised by a round or ‘moon face’ appearance) and was hospitalised after taking ‘D’SIHAT HERBA GOUT & SENDI’ for seven months for her knee pain. She also experienced weight gain, lower limb swelling and had elevated blood sugar level. Subsequently, she was diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency(a serious steroid withdrawal condition, where the body does not produce adequate amounts of steroid hormones) after stopping the product.

3        Another woman in her 40s had abnormal blood cortisol levels2 after consuming ‘Yanwo Chongcao Yanyin Qinfei Huatan Dan’ for two months for her chronic cough. Her astute doctor suspected that the product was adulterated and reported the case to HSA.

4        Both consumers had obtained these products from Malaysia through their friends. HSA has alerted its Malaysian counterpart to the detection of the adulterated products. HSA has also detected that the products were sold on local e-commerce and social media platforms, including Shopee and Facebook and has worked with the platform administrators to remove the affected listings. Investigations are ongoing.

5        ‘D’SIHAT HERBA GOUT & SENDI’ was marketed for the relief of pain and falsely labelled to be free of steroids, while ‘Yanwo Chongcao Yanyin Qinfei Huatan Dan’ was marketed to relieve cough and touted as “100% Natural Pure Herbal”.  Contrary to the claims, HSA tested them to contain steroids and other potent medicinal ingredients. Long-term unsupervised use of steroids such as dexamethasone can cause Cushing’s syndrome, increased blood sugar levels which may lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious adverse effects.

Advisory to consumers

6        Consumers are advised to:

  • See a doctor as soon as possible if you are taking these products as they contain potent medicinal ingredients including steroids. Long-term steroid use can suppress the body’s production of steroids. Sudden stopping of the product without medical supervision may worsen underlying medical conditions or cause other serious withdrawal conditions such as adrenal insufficiency.
  • Exercise caution when buying products from unknown or unverifiable sources, such as from overseas, online or even from well-meaning friends or relatives, as you cannot be certain where and how these products were made and whether they have been adulterated with harmful ingredients. Only buy from reputable pharmacies or retailers’ websites or those with an established retail presence in Singapore. Adulterated products are often manufactured under poor conditions with no quality control, and different batches of the same product may contain variable amount of ingredients and/or different types of adulterants.
  • Always consult your doctor or pharmacist if you need to manage your chronic medical conditions.
  • Be wary of products that deliver unexpectedly quick effects such as fast relief of chronic medical conditions, or that carry exaggerated claims, while claiming to be “herbal”, “natural” or ‘steroid-free’. Contrary to claims on their labels, they can contain potent ingredients that can seriously harm your health.

Advisory to sellers and suppliers

7        All sellers and suppliers must stop selling ‘D’SIHAT HERBA GOUT & SENDI’ and ‘Yanwo Chongcao Yanyin Qinfei Huatan Dan’ immediately. HSA will not hesitate to take stern enforcement actions against anyone who sells and/or supplies products found to be adulterated with potent medicinal ingredients. Sellers and suppliers of these products are liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be fined up to $10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 2 years.

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:

14 APRIL 2023

Download pdf version here 561 KB

1 Adrenal insufficiency can lead to fatigue, generalised weakness, muscle and joint pain, low blood pressure, fits or shock.

2 Potent steroids may suppress the normal production of cortisol, a natural steroid hormone produced by the body. This can lead to adrenal insufficiency.

Consumer, Healthcare professional, Industry member, Therapeutic Products

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