SINGAPORE: A coffee product sold online and marketed as being able to help consumers achieve weight loss in just one week has been found to contain a prescriptive drug banned in Singapore since 2010 because of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Thursday (Sep 26) that consumers who have been drinking S Gold Coffee should stop doing so immediately.
All sellers and suppliers of S Gold Coffee must also stop selling the item immediately, HSA said, adding that it has instructed local website administrators to remove the postings.
A check by reporters on Thursday afternoon showed the product was still listed on Carousell, Shopee, Lazada Malaysia and Facebook.
HSA said in its news release that a consumer who took the product had become suspicious after her appetite was suppressed significantly.
Tests revealed the product contained sibutramine, a prescription medicine for weight loss that was banned in Singapore in 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, said HSA.
"The product marketing materials had advised that insomnia is a common reaction when taking this product, and that experiencing headache and heart palpitations showed that 'the product is working towards internal detoxing and helps to improve blood circulation'," said HSA.
"In fact, these are known side effects of the banned sibutramine, which the sellers are misleading consumers into believing are beneficial effects of the product," it added.
A listing on Shopee e-commerce platform advertised S Gold Coffee at S$84 for box of 20 sachets.
On Facebook, a page promoting the product contained testimonials by consumers and before-and-after pictures supposedly showing the effectiveness of the coffee.
Consumers should be wary of products that make exaggerated claims such as reducing the risk of cancer, HSA said.
Those who have taken S Gold Coffee should see a doctor if they feel unwell or are concerned about their health, it added.
It is illegal to sell and supply products that contain potent medicinal ingredients or banned substances, said HSA.
If found guilty, sellers and suppliers may be jailed up to two years, fined up to S$5,000, or both.