HSA warns of counterfeit eye drops sold in Singapore

SINGAPORE - Counterfeit eye drops are being sold in Singapore, and they can cause eye infections and potentially lead to serious complications such as corneal ulcers (open sores in the outer layer of the eye) and blindness.

Fraudulently labelled as "EYE MO Regular" (7.5 ml) and "EYE MO Moist" (7.5 ml) from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the counterfeit eye drops are of poor quality with bacterial contamination, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said in a statement today (Mar 1).

Investigations by the statutory board have indicated that the counterfeit Eye Mo products were sold at Eskimo Frozen Foods, located at 36 Chai Chee Avenue, and H.J. Ventures, located at 150A Bishan Street 11.

The counterfeit products were found in the 7.5 ml pack size only, while the genuine Eye Mo products come in four available sizes of 7.5 ml, 9 ml, 15 ml and 18 ml.

These counterfeit Eye Mo products were printed in a combination of three batch numbers and manufacturing dates that have never been used by GSK. They are:

Combination 1 (Eye Mo Regular):

Batch Number: 15106160, Manufacturing Date: 06/03/15

Combination 2 (Eye Mo Regular):

Batch Number: 15025028, Manufacturing Date: 18/03/15

Combination 3 (Eye Mo Moist):

Batch Number: 15004105, Manufacturing Date: 30/04/15

HSA said that this is the first case of counterfeit eye drops being sold by shops in Singapore, and further investigations are underway.

The first counterfeit eye drops were seized by HSA from a provision shop in late 2015, and were confirmed to be counterfeits by GSK.

"While the quantities seized were limited, HSA would like to alert consumers who may have bought these products of the safety concerns and to discard these products immediately," HSA said.

HSA added that consumers who have had recent ocular surgery or have pre-existing diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, are at a higher risk of eye infection if they use the counterfeit eye drops.

HSA also advised consumers to check their existing eye drops by tallying the batch numbers and manufacturing date combinations, and consult a doctor immediately if they experience any reactions.

"Consumers should also be wary when purchasing health products from door-to-door salespersons or dubious online sites, as it cannot be ascertained where and how these products were manufactured," HSA added.

Consumers who suspect that they may have purchased counterfeit Eye Mo products in any of the retail outlets may reach out to the consumer hub in GSK via email at sg.customer-relations@gsk.com or dial 1800 622 7238.

Members of the public who are aware of counterfeit health products being sold by retailers or online are encouraged to contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at 6866 3485 or hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg.

Any person found to be selling or distributing counterfeit health products are liable to a penalty of $100,000 and/or a jail term of up to three years, if convicted.