BANNED WEIGHT LOSS MEDICINE FOUND IN COFFEE
Noticing anomalies in the scanned images of two parcels from Malaysia, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at Changi Airfreight Centre conducted further checks.
They found consignments declared as ‘MOFA COFFEE’ and referred the parcels to HSA for further investigation.
The product was labelled to aid appetite suppression and to contain natural ingredients such as coffee extract, white kidney bean extract and garcinia cambogia.
However, HSA found that it contained high levels of sibutramine, a substance which has been banned in Singapore since 2010.
The prescription-only weight loss medicine has an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Other serious health consequences include heart problems and central nervous system disorders like psychosis and hallucinations.
In 2019, a consumer experienced an extremely fast heart rate and became unconscious after taking a product adulterated with sibutramine.
She was resuscitated and suffered debilitating consequences requiring the implantation of a defibrillator to help her heart to function, said HSA.
ADVISORY TO CONSUMERS
The HSA warned consumers who are taking “‘DND Rx9” to see a doctor as soon as possible.
“Sudden stopping of the product without medical supervision may result in worsening of underlying medical conditions or other serious withdrawal conditions such as adrenal insufficiency,” said HSA.
Consumers should also stop taking the other two products immediately and consult a doctor if they feel unwell or are concerned about their health.
The authority also advised the public to exercise caution when buying products from unknown or unfamiliar sources and to be wary of products that claim to be “herbal” or “natural”.
Sellers and suppliers must stop selling these products immediately. HSA warned that it would not hesitate to take “stern enforcement actions” against those selling and supplying products found to be adulterated with banned substances or potent ingredients.
Offenders can be fined up to S$10,000 (US$7,485), jailed up to two years, or both.
Members of the public who have information about the sale and supply of these products can contact HSA’s Enforcement Branch at 6866 3485 or through email at hsa_is [at] hsa.gov.sg.