HSA Alerts Public to Three Adulterated Products Which Caused Serious Adverse Reactions and Led to One Person Being Hospitalised

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public not to purchase or consume three health products which caused serious adverse reactions and led to hospitalisation in one person. The products were tested by HSA to contain undeclared potent western medicines, including a banned substance, sibutramine. The three adulterated products are:


Name of product

Undeclared potent ingredients found

Source of purchase


‘Ananda Thukha Remedy for Diabetes’



Local retail shop


‘1 Day Diet’




‘Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang’




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

2    ‘Ananda Thukha Remedy for Diabetes’ was marketed as a “medicine for complete cure of diabetes”. A woman in her 60s purchased the product from a retail shop in Peninsula Plaza for her diabetes, upon the recommendation from a friend. She had been consuming it for about three months before seeing her doctor for sore throat and tiredness. She was diagnosed with agranulocytosis, a serious blood disorder whereby the patient has a low white blood cell count and is prone to fall sick from infections. She was hospitalised for almost two weeks. HSA has seized all the implicated products from the retail shop for further investigation.

3    ‘1 Day Diet’ was purchased online and labelled to be a “100% pure natural” slimming product with “quick effect” and “no side effect”. However, a healthy female consumer in her 30s experienced breathing difficulties, increased heart rate, and excessive sweating of palms after consuming ‘1 Day Diet’ capsules for less than 2 weeks due to the undeclared potent medicinal ingredient, sibutramine.  

4    ‘Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang’ was purchased overseas by a woman for her husband in his 50s, who was suffering from body aches. He had consumed it for about a month. Soon after stopping the product, the man experienced low blood pressure and low levels of cortisol (a hormone involved in regulating body metabolism), which are symptoms typically associated with steroid consumption. This could lead to serious health complications if left untreated.

Danger of undeclared western medicines found in the illegal products

5    Glibenclamide is a prescription-only medicine for diabetes and should only be used under medical supervision. It may cause adverse effects such as very low blood sugar levels and certain blood disorders in rare cases.

6    Yohimbine is a potent western medicinal ingredient. Adverse effects associated with yohimbine include insomnia, anxiety, palpitations (sensation of heart pounding, racing or skipped beats), sweating and blurred vision.

7    Sibutramine, previously a prescription-only weight loss drug used in the treatment of obesity, has been disallowed for sale in Singapore since 2010 due to serious safety concerns. The use of sibutramine may cause serious adverse effects, including high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings.  

8    Dexamethasone is a potent steroid. Long term use of an oral steroid without medical supervision can cause high blood pressure, cataracts, an increased risk of infections, and Cushing’s syndrome (characterised by the appearance of round face or ‘moon face’ and upper body obesity with thin limbs).

Consumer advisory

9    A/Prof Chan Cheng Leng, Acting Group Director of the Health Products Regulation Group in HSA warns, “Consumers need to be wary of complementary health products that offer quick cures and relief of chronic illnesses. Do not be enticed by their false promises as they may contain undeclared potent ingredients that can pose serious health risks.”

10    Members of the public who have purchased or are currently consuming these products are advised to:

  • Stop consuming ‘Ananda Thukha Remedy for Diabetes' and ‘1 Day Diet’ immediately, and consult a doctor if you are feeling unwell.
  • As ‘Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang’ contains a potent steroid, consumers should see a doctor as soon as possible. Discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure, especially when these products have been taken for more than a few weeks.
  • Exercise caution when purchasing health products online or from other sources which you may not be familiar with, even if from well-meaning friends and relatives. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made. They could potentially be counterfeits or adulterated with undeclared potent ingredients. If buying online, consumers should only buy them from websites with an established retail presence in Singapore.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you need help for the management of your chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypertension).

Members of the public are encouraged to visit www.healthdangers.sg to learn more about the dangers of buying illegal health products from questionable sources.

Sale and supply of illegal products

10    Sellers should stop selling ‘Ananda Thukha Remedy for Diabetes’, ‘1 Day Diet’ and ‘Bee Brand Qi Li Xiang’ immediately. It is illegal to sell and supply complementary health products (e.g. health supplements, traditional medicines) containing undeclared potent western medicines or banned substances.

11    Anyone convicted of selling illegal health products may be liable for prosecution under the Health Products Act, Poisons Act and/or Medicines Act. Offenders will face a penalty fine of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment for a period of up to three years under the Health Products Act; a penalty fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for a period of up to two years under the Poisons Act and a penalty fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for a period of up to two years under the Medicines Act.

12    Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of these or other 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.

22 DECEMBER 2016

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