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HSA Alert: 'Shen Qi Dan Bai Nian Cao Yao' & 'Ricalinu' Found to Contain Potent Medicinal Ingredients, 'Freaky Fitz' Detected with Banned Substance

One product led to chest discomfort in an elderly woman

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public not to purchase or use the three health products below. Consumption of these products may pose serious health risks as they were found to contain potent medicinal ingredients, which are prohibited in such products. The three products are:

Product name

Potent medicinal ingredients

Source of purchase

‘SHEN QI DAN BAI NIAN CAO YAO’

‘神奇丹 百年草药’

Chlorpheniramine

Dexamethasone

Diclofenac

Frusemide

Product obtained from a friend who purchased it in Malaysia

‘Ricalinu’

 

Dexamethasone

Meloxicam

Tramadol

Product was purchased in Indonesia

‘Freaky Fitz’

Sibutramine

Sold on local e-commerce platforms

 

Please refer to Annex A of the pdf version for photos of the products and Annex B for the possible adverse effects of the medicinal ingredients found in these products.

Consumer experienced chest discomfort after taking ‘SHEN QI DAN BAI NIAN CAO YAO’

2        A woman in her 70s experienced chest discomfort after taking ‘SHEN QI DAN BAI NIAN CAO YAO’, which was labelled “for pain relief in adults and children”. The consumer obtained the product from her friend who sourced it from Malaysia.

3        The product claimed to contain only herbal ingredients like cordyceps and ginseng. However, HSA tested and detected multiple medicinal ingredients in this product: chlorpheniramine (an antihistamine), dexamethasone (a steroid), diclofenac (a painkiller), and frusemide (a medicine for removing excess water from the body). These potent ingredients can cause serious adverse effects when used without medical supervision.

Foiled attempt to import 'Ricalinu'

4        A man in his 40s attempted to bring in 20 boxes of ‘Ricalinu’ from Indonesia but was stopped at the Singapore Cruise Centre by checkpoint officers. The product was falsely labelled to contain only herbs for treating a range of pain ailments including rheumatism and gout. HSA’s tests found that the product contained three medicinal ingredients: dexamethasone, a potent steroid, meloxicam and tramadol, potent painkillers.

Banned substance detected in 'Freaky Fitz'

 5        A member of the public provided feedback to HSA that ‘Freaky Fitz’ was sold online with exaggerated claims of being able to help consumers slim down within days. HSA tested ‘Freaky Fitz’ and found that it contained sibutramine. Sibutramine was previously a prescription medicine but has been banned in Singapore since 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

6        ‘Freaky Fitz’ is  promoted as a slimming drink containing natural ingredients, with claims including ‘fast slimming results’, ‘burns fat fast without dieting and exercising’ and ‘safe to consume’. Its label also carry a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) logo (a quality certification mark) that is falsified. This may mislead consumers into believing that the product is safe and manufactured under high quality standards. The product is sold on local e-commerce platforms such as Shopee, Carousell, Lazada and Qoo10. HSA is working with the website administrators of these platforms to take down the affected listings.

Advisory to consumers

7        Consumers are advised to:

  • See a doctor as soon as possible if you have taken ‘SHEN QI DAN BAI NIAN CAO YAO’ or ‘Ricalinu’ as they contain potent steroids. Discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure.
  • Stop taking ‘Freaky Fitz’ immediately and consult a doctor if you feel unwell or are concerned about your health.
  • Be wary of health products that are advertised to deliver quick and miraculous results, or carry exaggerated claims such as ‘burns fat fast without dieting and exercising’ and ‘safe to consume’. Consumers should be cautious even if the product appears well-packaged or have logos of international standards printed on them.
  • Avoid purchasing health products from unfamiliar sources, and 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.

Advisory to sellers and suppliers

8        All sellers and suppliers must stop selling these products immediately. It is illegal to sell and supply such products, which contain potent medicinal ingredients or banned substances. Sellers and suppliers are liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to 3 years and/or fined up to $100,000.

 

HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY
SINGAPORE
9 MARCH 2020

Download pdf version here1207 KB

Consumer, Healthcare professional, Industry member, Health supplements, Traditional medicines
Published:

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