Consumers who choose to buy health products online are taking a high risk with their health and they may find it difficult to seek redress if they fall ill after taking such products, said the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).
CASE’s comments come as the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) issued an alert regarding two illegal weight loss products sold online. Two people fell ill after taking two illegal weight loss products, which were purchased online. A man in his 20s who suffered an acute kidney failure while another 15-year-old girl suffered hallucinations.
Anyone who are concerned about their health or suffers any symptoms should consult a proper physician to work up their health issues, instead of relying on health supplements to resolve their problems. And any health products should be obtained from reliable sources instead of just depending on unjustifiable anecdotal account or ‘testimonies’ from anyone, especially those from online sources.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) warned the public not to purchase or consume two illegal weight loss products, after these led to two people hospitalised for hallucinations and acute kidney failure. The two products – Nutri Drops Grapefruit Diet and Nutrex Research Adipodex – were tested by HSA to contain potent, undeclared chemical ingredients. For the former, the undeclared chemical ingredients include sibutramine, benzyl sibutramine (a chemically-related compound of sibutramine) and phenolphthalein. Sibutramine, a weight loss drug, has been banned in Singapore since 2010 due to serious safety concerns. As for Nutrex Research Adipodex, which was marketed online as a dietary supplement, was labelled to contain yohimbine – a potent western medicinal ingredient not allowed to be present in supplements sold locally, the press release stated. It can trigger chest pains and high blood pressure.
A teenager experienced hallucinations after consuming Nutri Drops Grapefruit Diet for more than a month to lose weight, and was subsequently hospitalised. The product was labelled to contain all natural ingredients including green tea. Another consumer in his 20s consumed Nutrex Research Adipodex and suffered acute kidney failure leading to hospitalisation.
One must always exercise caution when purchasing their health products, and obtain them from reliable and reputable sources locally. The dangers of online purchasing include the lack of information on the sellers’ location, the source of their products and the conditions under which the products were manufactured and stored. Products sold online could also potentially be counterfeit or adulterated with undeclared potent ingredients.
Another new drug canagliflozin has been approved for the treatment of diabetes in the UK. This is a new class of anti-diabetic medication that has joined the existing armory of oral agents in treatment of diabetes. Very soon, the drug will be available in Singapore similarly. The potential market for type 2 diabetes drugs is enormous and growing. An estimated 382 million people worldwide have diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation, with numbers set to worsen in many countries with aging population and increasing prevalence of obesity. While the addition of new treatment for diabetes is welcome, no drug is perfect enough to be a miracle panacea for the treatment of diabetes. Successful management of diabetes requires the concerted effort of appropriate medications, the sound clinical judgement of an astute physician, conscientious lifestyle modifications, consistent dietary habits, and most importantly, the patients’ motivation and desire to control their diabetes well.