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HSA Alert: Three Consumers Had Adverse Effects After Consuming Products Found to Contain Banned Substance Sibutramine

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public not to purchase or consume three products marketed online for slimming. HSA’s analysis of these products showed that they contained the banned substance sibutramine, which can cause serious adverse effects. The three products are:

  • ‘Magic Mocha’
  • ‘Thao Moc Ho Tro Giam Beo Cenly’
  • ‘Cynthia Beauty EazyS Instant Coffee Powder’

2        The products were sold on local e-commerce (Carousell, Lazada, Shopee and Qoo10) and social media (Facebook and Instagram) platforms. They were marketed with misleading claims which included “fast-acting”, “fat-burning”, “reduce fat storage” and “accelerate the breakdown of stubborn fat”.  HSA has issued warnings to the sellers and the platform administrators have since removed the affected listings. Please refer to Annex A of the pdf version for photos of the products.

Adverse Effects Reported by Consumers

3        HSA received three reports from consumers who experienced adverse effects such as palpitations, nausea, extreme thirst, migraine and/or dizziness after taking the products. The continued intake of these products could have led to serious health consequences such as heart problems and central nervous system disorders (e.g. psychosis and hallucinations).

4        Sibutramine was a prescription-only weight loss medicine but was banned in Singapore 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 function.

Advisory to Consumers

5        Consumers are advised to:

  • Stop taking ‘Magic Mocha’, ‘Thao Moc Ho Tro Giam Beo Cenly’ and ‘Cynthia Beauty EazyS Instant Coffee Powder’ immediately and consult a doctor if you feel unwell or are concerned about your health.
  • Be wary of products that carry exaggerated claims or 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.
  • 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

6        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. 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.

7        Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of the 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.

HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY
SINGAPORE
10
 NOVEMBER 2021

Download pdf version here 484 KB

Consumer, Healthcare professional, Industry member
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