Between 2015 and February 2017, a total of 14,200 cosmetic products worth RM8.5 million were seized as they have not been notified to the ministry, according to Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

"All cosmetic products must be notified to the ministry before they can be manufactured, imported, supplied or sold in Malaysian markets," he said.

During the same period, 153,700 cosmetic products were notified to the ministry, but between 2013 and now, 47 products have had their notification numbers cancelled as they were found to be adulterated with prohibited substances such as hydroquinone, tretinoin and mercury.

The ministry has been constantly conducting inspections on premises selling cosmetic products, such as social media or physical stores.

More than 300 cases have been uncovered

So far, the ministry has uncovered more than 300 cases involving online sellers and have handed them over to the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission for further action, whereas 20 cases have been taken to courts.

Meanwhile, the Pharmaceutical Enforcement Division has seized various types of unregistered injectable pharmaceutical products worth RM779,663 during the Ops Cosmetics on 12 April.

The operation was carried out on 66 premises including beauty salons, spas, aesthetic clinics, health clinics, residences and suppliers/wholesalers nationwide. Many of the injectable pharmaceutical products seized were Botox, Vitamin C, glutathione, placenta and non-notified cosmetics.

Subramaniam warned beauty centres that they should not offer Botox injections and if found to do so, would be ordered to close. "We are strict in this matter because we don't want the public to fall victim to extreme advertisements and testimonies which claim that certain products can give the desired effect quickly or in a short period of time," he added.

Tighter regulations for cosmetic products and machinery needed

This comes after a series of cosmetic creams were found to contain scheduled poisons. Previously, in January, an investigative report by a local daily found that millions of Malaysians have been sustaining a massive illicit cosmetics industry, putting their lives at risk.

Ozone therapy machines that claim to address hundreds of health issues, including chronic illnesses, and injectable products were the main focus of the MOH. If found to be operating ozone machines, operators will be punished by a maximum of RM200,000 or three years' jail, or both.

The MOH is hoping to tighten regulations by increasing current fines and investigating doctors that collaborate with beauty parlours to perform intravenous procedures as well.

The Customs Department has also banned the import of ozone therapy machines from suspicious sources from China, Taiwan and South Korea. MIMS

Read more:
8 cosmetic products named by Malaysia’s MOH for containing scheduled poisons
Malaysian cosmetic surgeon suspended for sleeping during liposuction procedure
Suspected fake cosmetic surgeon botches eye surgery, leaves patient with differently-shaped eyes