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Health Science Authority: 3 Chinese Medicine products found to contain potent medicinal ingedients

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public not to purchase or use the following health or cosmetic products. They contain potent medicinal ingredients which are prohibited in such products. Two of these products have caused serious adverse effects in consumers. The third product contained dangerously high levels of a potent medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction.

1. Potent Steroid in ‘Tian Ma Tu Chung Seven Leave Ginseng' caused adverse effects in man.


A male patient in his 50s developed abnormal blood cortisol levels following long-term consumption of ‘TIAN MA TU CHUNG SEVEN LEAVE GINSENG’, which was purchased in Malaysia.

HSA tested this product and detected two medicinal ingredients: chlorpheniramine, an antihistamine, and dexamethasone, a potent steroid. Dexamethasone can only be obtained through prescription by a doctor while chlorpheniramine should be obtained from a doctor or pharmacist. Long-term unsupervised use of steroids like dexamethasone can cause increased blood glucose levels (which may lead to diabetes), Cushing’s syndrome (a round face or ‘moon face’ appearance and upper body obesity with thin limbs), and other serious adverse effects (refer to full report Annex B).

HSA had alerted members of the public in August 2011 to the same product, which had caused an elderly lady to suffer Cushing’s syndrome, high blood pressure, hallucination and memory loss. She had obtained the product from a relative who had purchased it in Malaysia.

2. Woman who used "Perliere Mimi Pearl Cream" had Steroid withdrawal symptoms

Perliere Mimi Pearl Cream
Perliere Mimi Pearl Cream

A woman in her 30s developed symptoms of redness, extreme itchiness and burning sensation after she stopped using ‘PERLIERE MIMI PEARL CREAM’. She had purchased the product online and used it for over two years.

HSA’s tests found that the product contained four medicinal ingredients: trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole, which are antibiotics; ketoconazole, an anti-fungal medicine; and clobetasol propionate, a potent steroid. These ingredients can pose serious health risks if used without medical supervision. Her skin specialist confirmed that she had developed steroid withdrawal symptoms.

3. High levels of male erectile dysfunction medicines detected in "Impactra"


During HSA’s routine surveillance of products in the market, ‘IMPACTRA’ was detected to contain sildenafil, tadalafil and chloropretadalafil. These are prescription medicines used for the treatment of male erectile dysfunction. Tadalafil was present in high levels of up to 10 times the maximum daily dose. These high levels can cause serious adverse effects such as low blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and painful and exceedingly long erections (priapism) which can lead to permanent erectile dysfunction if left untreated.

‘IMPACTRA’ was sold by ‘Gold Tree Pte Ltd’ and marketed for “male sexual enhancement”. It carried claims including “boost libido” and “causing an increase in testosterone level”. The product also claimed falsely that “its all-natural formula ensures no inclusion of harmful synthetic chemicals”, when it actually contained three prescription medicines.

HSA has directed the companies selling ‘PERLIERE MIMI PEARL CREAM’ and ‘IMPACTRA’ to stop the sale of the products, and is also working with local e-commerce website administrators to take down affected postings.


  • See a doctor as soon as possible if you have taken ‘TIAN MA TU CHUNG SEVEN LEAVE GINSENG’ or used ‘PERLIERE MIMI PEARL CREAM’, as they contain potent steroids. Discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure, especially if you have been taking the product for more than a few weeks.

  • Stop taking ‘IMPACTRA’ immediately and consult a doctor if you feel unwell or are concerned about your health.

  • Be wary of health products that promise to deliver quick and miraculous effects, or carry exaggerated claims.

  • Avoid purchasing health products from unfamiliar sources overseas, and exercise caution when buying such products online. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made. They could contain potent medicinal ingredients which can seriously harm your health.

For full HSA report: click here

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