Slimming supplement brands sold online found to contain banned substances

The Health Sciences Authority has warned the public not to purchase or consume two brands of slimming pills sold online, after they were found to contain a banned substance and potent laxatives. — TODAY pic
The Health Sciences Authority has warned the public not to purchase or consume two brands of slimming pills sold online, after they were found to contain a banned substance and potent laxatives. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, June 1 — The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has warned the public not to purchase or consume two brands of slimming pills sold online, after they were found to contain a banned substance and potent laxatives.

In a media release yesterday, the HSA said the two products — Nuvitra and BeColi — were tested, and found to contain a banned substance called sibutramine.

According to the authority, sibutramine was previously available as a prescription-only weight-loss drug.

It was withdrawn from the Republic in 2010 because it was found to increase the risk of heart attack and strokes.

“Other serious adverse effects associated with its use include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings,” the HSA added.

The two products were also found to contain potent laxatives, including sennosides and bisacodyl.

Adverse effects associated with the use of such laxatives include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, said the HSA, which also warned that prolonged use could lead to a lack of muscle strength in the large intestine that may result in chronic constipation.

On Thursday, the HSA said both products were marketed by NKD Singapore online as supplements for slimming, with claims that weight loss can be achieved within a short period of time.

“HSA has directed NKD Singapore to stop the sale of these products, and the administrators of online sales platforms to remove web listings of the products. The company is assisting HSA in its investigations,” the authority added.

Members of the public who have purchased these products should stop taking them immediately. Those feeling unwell should consult their doctors too, said the HSA.

It also urged consumers to exercise caution when purchasing health products online.

As for suppliers and sellers of these products, the HSA said they must stop selling them immediately. Anyone who supplies illegal health products could be prosecuted. If convicted, he/she may be imprisoned for up to 3 years and/or fined up to S$100,000 (RM297,376.65).

Members of the public with an information on the sale and supply of these illegal products may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at 68663485 during office hours, or email: [email protected] — TODAY

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