In brief

On 3 January 2023, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) issued an update on products found and reported by overseas regulators to contain potent ingredients that are prohibited and may cause side effects.

Key takeaways

  • To better protect local consumers from harmful health products that can be found overseas and online, the HSA not only conducts surveillance on health products found locally, but monitors overseas enforcement actions. The HSA then issues updates for consumers on products that may pose a threat to public health. The HSA’s close monitoring of noncompliant health products in other countries and of overseas regulators’ actions show that potential noncompliance in other jurisdictions may lead to knock-on risks in Singapore (e.g., negative publicity; potential detection in Singapore that the health products are adulterated).
  • Sellers and suppliers of health products should note that anyone who supplies health products in Singapore that are adulterated or counterfeit may face a fine of up to SGD 100,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

In depth

The HSA published a consolidated list of health products that were found and reported by health regulators overseas (including regulators in Brunei, Canada and Hong Kong) to contain potent ingredients.

The health products that were found to include potent ingredients range from topical creams to proprietary Chinese medicines. The HSA also provided a brief explanation of the possible side effects of the potent ingredients found in the health products. The full list of health products and the respective side effects can be found here.

The HSA cautioned the public against buying any of the listed products when abroad, and recommended exercising caution when purchasing health products online or from unfamiliar sources. In the event consumers wish to buy health products online, the HSA encouraged consumers to use retailers with an established presence in Singapore and to be wary of products that claim to produce unexpectedly quick results.