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HSA updates on products found overseas that contain potent ingredients (October 2023)

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) would like to update the public on products that have been found and reported by overseas regulators in October 2023 to contain potent ingredients which are not allowed in these products and may cause side effects. This information is provided to increase awareness on safety issues of such products found overseas, which may impact the local population. Please refer to Annex A and Annex B for the list of products and the possible side effects of the potent ingredients. Please refer to the pdf document for images of the products.

HSA’s Advisory

2          Members of the public are advised to:

  • Consult a doctor if you have consumed any of the products and are feeling unwell.
  • Avoid buying any of the products when abroad.
  • Exercise caution when purchasing health products online or from sources (either local or overseas) which you may not be familiar with, even if well-meaning friends or relatives have recommended them. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made. They may be illegal, counterfeit or substandard, and may contain potent ingredients which can harm your health. If buying health products online, we encourage you to buy them from websites with an established retail presence in Singapore.
  • Be wary of products that promise quick and miraculous results or carry exaggerated claims like “100% safe”, “no side effects” or “scientifically proven”. Consumers should also be cautious of products that produce unexpected quick recovery of medical conditions.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you need help for the management of your acute and chronic medical symptoms and conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, eczema).

3          Additionally, members of the public are encouraged to visit https://www.hsa.gov.sg/consumer-safety/ to learn more about the dangers of buying health products from dubious sources.

4          Members of the public who come across the sale and supply of these products in Singapore may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at Tel: 6866 3485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or email: hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg.

Annex A

List of Products

Note: There may be different versions or variants of the products listed below. You are advised to consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure of any health product you intend to use, or if you need help for your acute and chronic medical symptoms and conditions

Name of product

Potent ingredient(s)

Source
(Regulatory Agency)

7K

Yohimbe

Health Canada

Artri King

Diclofenac

United States Food and Drug Administration

Black Panther #1

Yohimbe

Health Canada

Blue Rhino Honey

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 Inhibitor)

Health Canada

E-Gold

Acetaminophen, 
Sildenafil, Tadalafil
(PDE-5 inhibitors)

Health Canada

Glowing Herba Night Cream

Mercury and
Betamethasone (Corticosteroid)

Malaysia National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency

Glowing Night Cream

Hydroquinone, Tretinoin and Betamethasone (Corticosteroid)

Malaysia National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency

Gold Lion Lemon

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

Hadalabo Pearl Barley Face Wash
(Skin treatment)

Aminocaproic acid

Health Canada

Hadalabo Pearl Barley Facial Foam
(Skin treatment)

Aminocaproic acid

Health Canada

KetoDiet Coffee

Sibutramine

Hong Kong Department of Health

Kuka Flex Forte

Diclofenac

United States Food and Drug Administration

Magnum Gold 24K

Tadalafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

Magnum XXL 24K

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

Reumo Flex

Diclofenac

United States Food and Drug Administration

Revive 7 Revitalizing Brow Serum
(Lot 20230315)

Bimatoprost

Health Canada

Revive 7 Revitalizing Lash Serum
(Lot 20230528)

Bimatoprost

Health Canada

Rhino 69 Platinum 35000

Tadalafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

Rhino for Her

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

Pillqueen

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

Pillking Plus 99K (liquid format)

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

S.Factor Mocha Latte

Sibutramine

Hong Kong Department of Health

Sahaana Fairness Cream

Mercury

Malaysia National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency

SCI BEAUTY NIGHT CREAM PELICIN

Tretinoin and Hydroquinone

Brunei Darussalam, Ministry of Health

Skinmade AZ & Salicylic Acid + Licorice Root Serum

Azelaic Acid

Malaysia National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency

Skinsister Babyskin Treatment Cream

Mercury

Malaysia National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency

Superman Titanium 700K

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

Super Panther 7K

Yohimbe

Health Canada

The Rock

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

United States Food and Drug Administration

VIP Go Rhino 69K

Yohimbe

Health Canada

WAP Gummy

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

WAP Honey

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

White Lion

Sildenafil
(PDE-5 inhibitor)

Health Canada

 

Annex B

The possible side effects of the potent ingredients

 

Acetaminophen / Paracetamol

Acetaminophen or paracetamol is used for relieving pain, headache and fever. Products which contain acetaminophen or paracetamol, but do not have this declared on the label, pose a danger to consumers as accidental overdose can result in liver damage.

 

Aminocaproic acid

Aminocaproic acid is a medicine used to treat certain bleeding disorders. Inappropriate use of aminocaproic acid without medical supervision may result in allergic and hypersensitivity reactions. Anaphylaxis has been reported with aminocaproic acid therapy. Blood clotting and blood coagulation disorder have also been reported with the use of aminocaproic acid.

 

Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is used for the treatment of skin pigmentation and acne, and it is not allowed in cosmetic products. Side effects include burning, erythema, stinging, pruritus, dryness and scaling, peeling, irritation, dermatitis, hypopigmentation, rash and photosensitivity. Exacerbation of asthma may occur although this is rare.

 

Bimatoprost

Bimatoprost is a medicine used to lower the intraocular pressure of the eye in glaucoma. It should be used under medical supervision as it can cause side effects such as blurred vision, eye irritation, darkened eyelid skin, iris colour change, eye inflammation and macular oedema and hyperemia.

 

Corticosteroids

Betamethasone 17-Valerate, Clobetasol propionate and dexamethasone are potent steroids that are usually prescribed for inflammatory conditions and should only be used under strict medical supervision. Long-term unsupervised use of steroids (including topical use where the steroid can be absorbed into the body) can cause increased blood glucose levels (which may lead to diabetes), high blood pressure, cataracts, muscular and bone disorders, an increased risk of infections and Cushing’s syndrome (a round face or ‘moon face’ appearance and upper body obesity with thin limbs). Discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure, especially when the product has been taken for more than a few weeks.

 

Diclofenac

Diclofenac is a potent painkiller and may potentially cause cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes, as well as serious gastric bleeding, when used for a prolonged period. It should be used under close medical supervision, especially in patients with underlying heart conditions, stomach bleeding and ulceration.

 

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is a potent ingredient used in prescription medicines for the treatment of skin conditions. The ingredient is prohibited in skincare cosmetic products and should only be used under medical supervision, as hydroquinone may cause harmful effects if not used properly. The inappropriate use of hydroquinone could result in changes in skin colour and hypersensitivity reactions such as rashes, redness, tingling and burning of skin.

 

Mercury

Mercury is a toxic substance and is prohibited for use as an ingredient in cosmetic products. Regular application of creams containing mercury could lead to rash, skin discolouration and blotching. Chronic exposure to very high levels of mercury in cosmetic products may also cause toxic effects to the kidneys, digestive and nervous system, as it can be absorbed through the skin. This could lead to organ damage.

 

Phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors

This class of medicine includes carbodenafil, sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil and their derivatives. These medicines can cause serious side effects such as strokes, heart attacks, decreased or loss of vision and hearing and priapism (painful and exceedingly long erections). If priapism is not treated immediately, it may lead to permanent impotence. PDE-5 inhibitors are also not suitable for patients with medical conditions such as certain heart-related problems or who are on heart medications such as nitrates. Deaths of patients found to be using Sildenafil while on nitrates have been reported overseas.

 

Sibutramine

Sibutramine, previously a prescription weight loss medicine used in the treatment of obesity, has been disallowed for sale in Singapore since 2010 due to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. The use of sibutramine has been associated with serious side effects, including high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings.

 

Tretinoin

Tretinoin is a potent ingredient used in prescription medicines for the treatment of skin conditions and should be used under medical supervision. The ingredient is prohibited in skincare cosmetic products. Inappropriate use of tretinoin could lead to side effects such as redness and peeling of skin.

 

Yohimbe

Yohimbe is a bark extract from which a potent medicinal ingredient, Yohimbine, is derived. Side effects associated with yohimbe or yohimbine include insomnia, anxiety, palpitations (sensation of heart pounding, racing or skipped beats), sweating and blurred vision. Overdosage can cause low blood pressure, rapid heartbeats, seizures, paralysis and coma. Deaths from overdose have also been reported.

Downalod PDF: HSA Foreign Alert_2023_Oct1638 KB

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