Singapore HSE warns against two weight loss drinks sold online found to contain banned substances

HSA’s tests revealed that Bobba Fitz contained the banned substance sibutramine. — Health Sciences Authority via TODAY
HSA’s tests revealed that Bobba Fitz contained the banned substance sibutramine. — Health Sciences Authority via TODAY

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SINGAPORE, Mar 1 — The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has warned members of the public not to consume two weight loss drinks sold on e-commerce and social media platforms, after they were found to contain banned and harmful substances.

A woman also experienced palpitations and mood swings after consuming the products — Bobba Fitz and Bobba Toxx — the authority said in an advisory today.

Bobba Fitz is touted to contain natural ingredients such as whey protein, cocoa powder and a fruit-derived ingredient, Garcinia Cambogia. However, the HSA’s tests revealed that it contained the banned substance sibutramine.

Sibutramine, which was previously a prescription-only weight loss medicine in Singapore, has been banned since 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attack and strokes. Other serious effects include insomnia, hallucinations and hearing voices. 

Bobba Fitz is often bundled with Bobba Toxx, HSA said. The latter was tested to contain the laxative sennoside, at about four times the usual dose. When taken in large amounts, it can cause effects such as cramping, diarrhoea and excessive loss of water and essential minerals.

HSA added that the woman has since stopped taking both products and the adverse effects have subsided. 

“If she had continued to consume them, the effects would likely have worsened,” it said.

HSA said that it has worked with various e-commerce and social media platforms — including Shopee, Lazada, Facebook and Instagram — to remove listings and issue warnings to sellers.

HSA advised consumers to stop taking the drinks immediately and consult a doctor if they feel unwell.

Members of the public should also be wary of products that carry exaggerated claims of fast weight loss without the need for exercise or diet control, or those that deliver unexpectedly quick effects as they can contain potent ingredients that can seriously harm one’s health.

HSA said it will take stern action against anyone who sells and supplies products found to be adulterated with banned substances or potent ingredients. 

Sellers and suppliers of such products are liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to S$10,000 (RM30,470).

Those who have any information on the sale and supply of illegal products may contact HSA's enforcement branch at 6866-3485 or [email protected]. — TODAY

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