The Health Science Authority (HSA) of Singapore has issued warnings for two weight loss products, Anyang Herbal Blue and Anyang Herbal Red, as they were found to have potent levels of undeclared medicine that can cause adverse side effects including high blood pressure, hallucinations, and increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The public was cautioned against buying and consuming the two products that were sold by Jessie Cosmetics on social media, as well as through the owner's friends. Touted to have "no side effects", it was also marketed as weight loss products made from "100% natural ingredients".

However, after a complaint from a woman in her late 20s who took Anyang Herbal Blue, HSA conducted an investigation. The woman complained of heart palpitations, nausea, trembling of hands and legs, sweating, insomnia and illusions.

High levels of banned substances in both products

HSA said on 6 March that it found "dangerously high levels" of sibutramine, a banned substance in Singapore since 2010 due to increased risks of heart attacks and stroke, in both products. Other possible side effects include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, hallucinations and mood swings.

Based on the labels on the two products, consumers would be consuming eight times the maximum daily allowable amount of sibutramine.

Anyang Herbal Red on the other hand was also found to contain undeclared potent Western medicines such as diclofenac and phenolphthalein. Diclofenac is a potent painkiller and may cause serious gastric bleeding, heart attacks and strokes, whereas phenolphtalein was previously used as a laxative and may cause rashes, abdominal cramps, breathing difficulties and kidney disorders, and has been found to be associated with cancer in animal studies, said HSA.

HSA issues warnings to sellers of both products

Consumers are advised to stop taking both products immediately and to consult a doctor if they are unwell or concerned about their health.

HSA has warned sellers to stop the sale of 'Anyang Herbal Blue' and 'Anyang Herbal Red' immediately, stating that it is illegal to sell and supply complementary health products that contain undeclared potent western medicines or banned substances.

If anyone is found to supply such illegal health products, they are liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to 3 years, fined up to S$100,000 or both. MIMS 

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