In a press release on 9th March 2020, Health Science Authority (HSA) Singapore said consumption of the these three products, Shen Qi Dan Bai Nian Cao Yao (神奇丹百年草药), Ricalinu, and slimming product Freaky Fitz, may pose serious health risks and is alerting the members of the public not to purchase these 3 products.
1. A woman experienced chest discomfort after taking ‘SHEN QI DAN BAI NIAN CAO YAO’
A woman in her 70s experienced chest discomfort after consuming ‘SHEN QI DAN BAI NIAN CAO YAO’, which was labelled “for pain relief in adults and children”. The women obtained the product from her friend who purchased it from Malaysia.
The product claimed to contain only herbal ingredients like cordyceps and ginseng. However, HSA tested and detected multiple medicinal ingredients in this product: chlorpheniramine (an antihistamine), dexamethasone (a steroid), diclofenac (a painkiller), and frusemide (a medicine for removing excess water from the body). These potent ingredients can cause serious adverse effects such as Cushing's syndrome, gastric bleeding, high blood pressure when used without medical supervision.
2. Foiled attempt to import 'Ricalinu'
A man in his 40s attempted to bring in 20 boxes of ‘Ricalinu’ from Indonesia but was stopped at the Singapore Cruise Centre by checkpoint officers. The product was falsely labelled to contain only herbs for treating a range of pain ailments including rheumatism and gout. HSA’s tests found that the product contained three medicinal ingredients: dexamethasone, a potent steroid, meloxicam and tramadol, potent painkillers.
3. Banned substance detected in 'Freaky Fitz' Slimming drink
A member of the public alerted HSA that ‘Freaky Fitz’ was sold online with exaggerated claims of being able to help consumers slim down within days. The item was being sold on local e-commerce platforms such as Shopee, Carousell, Lazada and Qoo10. HSA tested ‘Freaky Fitz’ and found that it contained sibutramine. Sibutramine was previously a prescription medicine but has been banned in Singapore since 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
‘Freaky Fitz’ is promoted as a slimming drink containing natural ingredients, with claims including ‘fast slimming results’, ‘burns fat fast without dieting and exercising’ and ‘safe to consume’. Its label also carry a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) logo (a quality certification mark) that is falsified. This may mislead consumers into believing that the product is safe and manufactured under high quality standards. The authority is working with the multiple e-commerce platforms carrying the products to take down the affected listings.
ADVISORY TO CONSUMERS
See a doctor as soon as possible if you have taken ‘SHEN QI DAN BAI NIAN CAO YAO’ or ‘Ricalinu’ 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.
Stop taking ‘Freaky Fitz’ immediately and consult a doctor if you feel unwell or are concerned about your health.
Be wary of health products that are advertised to deliver quick and miraculous results, or carry exaggerated claims such as ‘burns fat fast without dieting and exercising’ and ‘safe to consume’. Consumers should be cautious even if the product appears well-packaged or have logos of international standards printed on them.
Avoid purchasing health products from unfamiliar sources, and exercise caution when buying such products online or from well-meaning friends. You cannot be certain where and how these products were made. They can contain potent ingredients which can seriously harm your health.
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