$18k worth of illegal health products seized in global online operation

SINGAPORE - Illegal health products valued at around $18,000 have been seized as part of a global operation against the online sale of illegal health products, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said Thursday.

Close to 13,000 units of unregistered, counterfeit and adulterated products were confiscated as part of Operation Pangea from September 25 to October 2.

These included medicines such as oral contraceptives and weight-loss products, and medical devices such as contact lenses, condoms and pregnancy test strips.

The authority said that intensified checks were carried out on a total of 38 local websites, forums, blogs and online classifieds selling medicinal and health products. Of these, 15 websites were found to be selling illegal health products.

Investigations are being carried out on ten individuals believed to be involved in the illegal sale of these products.

In a recent case, a 22-year old woman was fined $19,000 for selling an assortment of oral contraceptives, condoms and pregnancy test kits with a total value of $5,685.

This is the highest ever seized from an individual in the illegal sale of health products online.

The fine was also the most severe penalty given to an individual for the sale of illegal health products online by far.

"Consumers should be discerning when buying medicines for themselves or their family or friends over the Internet, so that they do not become victims of these illegal or counterfeit products that might cause greater harm to their health," Dr Raymond Chua, Group Director of the Health Products Regulation Group at HSA, said.

He added that consumers should consult the doctor and seek proper medical advice when needed.

This is the fifth time HSA is taking part in Operation Pangea, which involves 99 countries and 190 participating agencies. It is the largest global operation of its kind.

A list of detected and tested illegal health products can be found at the HSA's website.

ljessica@sph.com.sg

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