Metal products

Singapore: HSA detects potent medical ingredients in two dietary supplements sold on local e-commerce platforms

In short

On April 27, 2022, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) announced that it had detected potent medical ingredients in two products marketed on local e-commerce and social media platforms. The HSA has since removed the affected listings and issued warnings to sellers of said products.

Key points to remember

  • Although there are currently no registration or licensing requirements for the importation, manufacture, or sale of dietary supplements, resellers must comply with HSA safety and quality standards. The addition of such medical ingredients is prohibited and there are strict limits for toxic heavy metals, microbes, vitamins and minerals.
  • Anyone found guilty of supplying adulterated products can be imprisoned for up to three years and/or fined up to SGD 100,000.
  • In its recently revised regulatory framework for health supplements, the HSA also provided more clarity on labeling standards and the scope of permitted claims for health supplements. Health supplements must contain the labeling information set out in the Guidelines for Labeling Standards for Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements (“Labeling guidelinesIn addition, the Guidelines for Claims and Substantiation of Claims for Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements establishes a list of general principles with which all claims must comply, including the requirement for claims of accurately state the nature, quality and properties of the health supplement, and a prohibition of any claim that a product has no side effects.We cover in more detail the updated framework of health supplements of the HSA here.

Background

On April 27, 2022, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) announced that it had detected potent medical ingredients in two products marketed on local e-commerce and social media platforms. The HSA has since removed the affected listings and issued warnings to sellers of said products.

The first product was marketed as a sexual enhancement supplement and claimed to be “free of animal element, free of stimulants, free of side effects”. The product has been shown to contain up to more than 60 times the usual dose of tadalafil, a prescription-only drug that can pose serious risks for people with heart problems and cause serious unwanted side effects, such as heart attacks or palpitations, if used. inappropriately.

The second product was marketed as a ‘new and improved’ version of a weight loss supplement that the HSA had previously reported in 2021. The product notably lacked key information required by labeling guidelines, such as appropriate instructions for use and manufacturing information. The product also contained misleading marketing claims. Like its predecessor, the HSA detected high levels of sibutramine in the product, a substance banned in Singapore since 2010 due to its role in increasing the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Sellers have been asked to immediately stop selling the affected products.

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