Public alerted against products with undeclared medicinal ingredients

PHOTO: Public alerted against products with undeclared medicinal ingredients

SINGAPORE - Two alerts have been released to warn members of the public of two products with undeclared medical ingredients. The products are known as Montalin Jamu Pegal Linu Dan Asam Urat and orange capsules called Bai He Bao Jian Su.

Members of the public who are taking Montalin capsules are advised to stop using it immediately.

Those who have bought Bai He Bao Jian Su are advised to consult a doctor immediately, especially if they have been taking the product for more than one week.

The orange capules were found to contain a potent steroid and other undeclared ingredients. Consumers should seek proper medical advice before they stop taking Bai He Bao Jian Su as sudden discontinuation can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, such as confusion and low blood pressure.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said in an alert today that they had received a report of two patients who suffered negative side effects after taking Montalin capsules, which were sold under the guise of traditional Jamu medicine for pain relief.

The doctor in charge of the patients, a woman in her 70s, had taken the product for two weeks, and was admitted to hospital for sudden lower limb and facial swelling. The product was purchased by her relative from overseas.

The other patient, who is in her 60s, experienced sudden weight gain and high blood sugar after three months of taking the product given by her friend.

Investigations and testing by HSA detected undeclared medicines such as piroxicam and paracetamol in the product samples.

The HSA also received feedback about a type of unlabelled orange capsules said to be sold by a local Chinese female. The orange capsules come in a zip-lock bag and are accompanied with a leaflet titled Bai He Bao Jian Su.

The product, which is taken orally or applied on the skin, is purported to treat more than 40 medical conditions such as rheumatism, pneumonia and infections of the skin.

A total of 6 different western medicinal ingredients, which should only be used under medical supervision, were found in the capsules. The 6 undeclared ingredients were bethamethasone valerate (steroid), chlormethiazole, chlorpheniramine, famotidine, frusemide, and piroxicam.

Anyone found convicted of selling these illegal products will face a penalty fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for a period of up to two years under the Poisons Act, and a penalty fine of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment for a period of up to three years under the Health Products Act.

Sellers should be cautious when sourcing for health products to sell and are reminded of their responsibility in ensuring the safety of the products and adherence to local legislations prior to introducing them to the market, including selling them online.

Consumers with medical conditions are also advised not to self-medicate and to seek proper medical advice for their conditions. In general, consumers should exercise discretion when buying health products, especially those with exaggerated claims or which offer "quick-fix" solutions.

Members of the public who have any information on the sale of these two products or other illegal products may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at Tel: 6866-3485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or email: hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg.

ljessica@sph.com.sg

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