SINGAPORE: Members of the public are warned not to purchase or consume three health products – Snake Powder Capsules, JC Gold and Tu Cho Pan Chi Pian – available in Malaysia that were tested to contain undeclared western medicinal ingredients.
In a press release issued on Thursday (Sep 1), the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said among the ingredients contained in these products were a potent steroid (dexamethasone) and several prescription-only medicines.
Four Singapore residents have been hospitalised for serious conditions after consuming the products, HSA added.
Two family members – a daughter in her 30s and her father in her 50s – developed drug-induced hepatitis and liver injury respectively after taking Snake Powder Capsules for three weeks. HSA had warned in 2005 against the consumption of this product.
After consuming JC Gold, a woman in her 60s developed Cushing’s syndrome, said HSA, which is a metabolic disorder characterised by a ‘moon face’, upper body obesity with thin limbs and high blood glucose.
A man in his 70s was also diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome after taking Tu Cho Pan Chi Pian for a few years to help with limb weakness.
All three products contain dexamethasone, which might have caused the Cushing’s syndrome, said HSA.
The authority said that members of the public who have purchased or are consuming these products are advised to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
“Do not stop the use of any of the three products immediately as sudden discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure, especially if they have been consumed for more than a few weeks,” said HSA.
The authority also warned consumers against purchasing products that “produce unexpected quick recovery of medical conditions” especially when they come from unfamiliar sources.
It said it does not rule out the possibility of the three products being sold or supplied in Singapore, and urged sellers who were doing so to stop immediately.
The authority said it takes a “serious view against those engaged in the sale and supply of illegal health products”.
Anyone convicted of such may be fined up to S$100,000 and/or jailed for up to three years under the Health Products Act, fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to two years under the Poisons Act and fined up to S$5,000 and/or jailed up to two years under the Medicines Act.
(Updated on 07th Septermber 2016)