SINGAPORE — The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Tuesday (8 June) said it had removed over 3,200 listings of illegal health products sold on local e-commerce platforms from January to May.
About 700 of them were removed during Operation Pangea, a global enforcement operation targeting the online sale of illicit pharmaceutical products coordinated by Interpol between 18 and 25 May, the HSA added in its press release.
Singapore was one of 92 countries that participated in this year's operation, making it the 14th consecutive year of its involvement.
During the week in May, the HSA said it intensified online surveillance of local e-commerce platforms to detect and disrupt the online sale of illegal health products.
The majority of the product listings taken down included prescription medicines for medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and cholesterol management.
"These were often leftover or unused medicine prescribed for the individual. The sellers claimed that they were unaware that such products were prescription medicines that could only be prescribed by doctors. Many of them were first-time sellers," said the HSA.
Other listings that were removed include those for weight loss pills, sexual enhancement medicines, and cosmetic products for skin whitening. These were tested by the HSA to be adulterated with medicinal ingredients or banned substances, or from safety alerts by overseas regulators, said the authority.
The sellers were issued warnings and reminded of the regulatory requirements.
The HSA had also on 18 May seized more than 10,000 units of prescription medicines and medical devices intended for local online sale in an unnamed residential unit, following a tip-off relating to two parcels from overseas that had contained such items.
The items uncovered during the seizure included antibiotics, abortion tablets and oral contraceptives, and condoms. Investigations into the case are ongoing.
"The HSA would like to remind members of the public that they should not sell prescription medicines as these are potent products that can cause serious side effects when used without appropriate medical supervision. Only qualified persons with an appropriate licence are allowed to sell such products," said the authority.
Those who are found guilty of doing so may face a maximum jail term of two years or a fine of up to $50,000, or both.
The HSA added that it takes a serious view against those engaged in the sale and supply of health products that are adulterated or carry misleading claims, and will take strong enforcement action against such persons.
If found guilty of supplying, such offenders may face a maximum jail term of three years or a fine of up to $100,000, or both.
Members of the public who encounter illegal, counterfeit, or other suspicious health products are encouraged to contact the HSA's enforcement branch at 68663485 or email@example.com.
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