A weight loss product has been marked as illegal by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) after it has been found to contain undeclared ingredients that could pose serious health risks, including fatality.
The HSA said in a statement that they have found that the “Ke Le” (可乐) weight loss product that has been sold online contains two undeclared potent medicinal ingredients – ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. These two ingredients are typically used in medicines that relieve blocked nose and cough. The recommended dosage instructions for the product would have caused consumers to unknowingly take more than four times the limit of ephedrine, posing health risks.
In the statement, HSA warned that consuming such high levels of ephedrine is dangerous and has life-threatening adverse effects, especially for consumers with medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and thyroid disease. Effects can also be aggravated when it’s taken together with products containing caffeine.
Adverse effects include increased heart rate, anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, stroke, seizures, and even death.
“Ke Le” was promoted online as an appetite suppressant for weight loss, and has a packaging with Korean text on it. The seller, who is a Singaporean woman in her 30s, had posted several before-and-after photos of herself and personal testimonials to promote the product on a Facebook page named “S.C.L.T.W”. The seller claimed to have lost 11kg from taking the product.
HSA enforcement officers raided the seller’s home and seized packets of “Ke Le” weight loss products hidden among other food items in her refrigerator. The seller has been instructed to remove the product listing from her Facebook page and to stop selling the product immediately. She is also assisting the HSA in investigations currently.
If you have consumed “Ke Le”, HSA advises the following:
- Stop consuming “Ke Le” immediately. Consult a doctor if you feel unwell or are concerned about its effects on your health
- Be discerning about health products, including beverages, which promise quick and miraculous results in weight loss
- Speak to a healthcare professional before using any medication for weight management
- Be wary of purchasing health products from online sources you’re unfamiliar with, including from social media pages
- Do not trust testimonials that cannot be verified. When in doubt, don’t buy
- If you have information on the sale and supply of these illegal products, you’re encouraged to contact the HSA’s Enforcement Branch at 68863485 or email [email protected]
All sellers and suppliers are also advised by the HSA to stop selling the illegal product immediately. Supplying of illegal health products is a crime. If convicted, the offender may be imprisoned for up to three years, fined up to SGD100,000, or both.