On 14 November 2022, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) issued an alert on five products that it found to contain potent medicinal ingredients and informed the public not to purchase such products.

Two of the products were obtained from Malaysia through the consumers' friends and relatives; while the other three were available on local e-commerce platforms. The HSA has worked with the platforms to remove the affected listings.

Key takeaways

  • Dealers must comply with the HSA's regulatory requirements when importing, manufacturing, or selling health products. Anyone found to have supplied health products that are adulterated may be imprisoned for up to three years and/or fined up to SGD 100,000 upon conviction; and anyone found to have supplied unregistered health products may be imprisoned for up to two years and/or fined up to SGD 50,000 upon conviction.
  • The HSA is active in the surveillance of health products in Singapore, and will publish details of health products that are non-compliant with applicable regulations.

In more detail

The two products that were obtained in Malaysia caused two consumers to experience serious steroid-induced adverse effects. One of these products was labelled as a "herbal supplement for inflammation" containing "100% vegetarian herbs". However, the HSA found through its tests that it contained steroids, antibiotics and other potent ingredients.

The HSA was alerted to the other three products through public feedback, and the HSA placed these products through tests. The test results revealed that these products contained potent ingredients despite the products' claim that "the dose is approved by skin specialists and is safe for all, including babies and mums".

These three products were not approved by the HSA, and pose serious health risks if used without medical supervision.

In the alert, the HSA also highlighted in an advisory to consumers to exercise caution when buying health products online, obtaining health products through friends and when buying health products for vulnerable persons.

The full HSA update may be found here.