No 'baby flesh pills' being sold in S'pore: HSA

SINGAPORE - Regarding the recent scare on 'baby flesh pills' being illegally manufactured and smuggled out of China, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has issued a statement reassuring Singaporeans that no such pills have been detected being sold here.

On Sunday, news broke that South Korea had seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from dead babies, which some believe has medicinal properties.

These capsules are said to have been manufactured in northeastern China from dead babies, who were chopped up into small pieces, dried on stoves and made into a powder.

The news broke when SBS, one of the three major national television networks in South Korea, broadcasted a documentary about China-made pills containing dead baby flesh being sold in Korea.

The television team said they went to China and found the hospital selling the dead babies.

The pills, said to come from stillborn births and abortion clinics, is believed to boost stamina and hence sexual performance.

The bodies were described to first undergo a 'microwave drying process' that breaks them down into powder. This is then packaged into capsules for sale.

The report alleged that according to insiders, the 'tonic' capsules were mainly sent to South Korea through members of the Korean ethnic group in China.

A test from the national customs office and institute of scientific investigation in South Korea revealed that the pills the television team obtained contained a substance that was 99.7 per cent identical with humans, the program reported.

In response, Chinese officials ordered an investigation into the production of such pills.

South Korea has stepped up customs inspections to stop the smuggling from China of pills made from dead human foetuses.

So far, there have been 35 attempts to bring in a total of 17,451 capsules in traveller luggage or by mail, the Yonhap news agency alleged.

The South Korean government is especially concerned seeing that these pills may cause serious health consequences, as they are said to be loaded with bacteria and other harmful ingredients.

In Singapore, HSA said that their ongoing surveillance has not detected "baby flesh pills" being sold in Singapore.

In addition, they stressed that "there is no scientific evidence that this product enhances sexual performance."

"Consumers are advised to be cautious of such claims and not purchase products from dubious sources or online," HSA said.

While they will continue to monitor the situation, HSA reminded members of the public that they are encouraged to report suspicious sales and distribution of such products.

Concerned members of the public can call HSA's hotline at 6866 3485 or email hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg if they wish to do do.

For health concerns, HSA advised the public to seek the medical advice of their doctors.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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