HSA removes online listings of items claiming to ‘cure’ Covid-19
Tapping public concern, there has been a significant number of product listings online claiming to prevent or treat Covid-19, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said in a press release yesterday.
These fraudulent products include health supplements and herbs. One of the false and misleading claims is they "prevent and cure coronavirus". Test kits that claim to be able to diagnose Covid-19 within 10 minutes are also being offered.
HSA cautioned there is no evidence that such products can prevent or treat Covid-19.
Testing can be done only by clinical laboratories or medical professionals in clinics and hospitals to ensure an accurate result and diagnosis, it said.
The listings are among more than 2,500 adulterated products or products making false or misleading health claims from local e-commerce platforms that HSA has removed during Operation Pangea, an Internet-based enforcement action coordinated by Interpol between March 3 and 10.
Adulterated lifestyle products such as weight loss pills and sexual enhancement medicines comprised more than 32 per cent of the listings taken down.
Product listings with false claims related to Covid-19 made up about half the total number of listings taken down by HSA.
Action will also be taken against the sellers.
HSA noted there were sellers who attempted to evade detection by advertising their products as common household brands of soaps and shampoos.
From Jan 1 to March 10, more than 1,100 unique seller accounts were issued warnings on the regulatory requirements.
People are advised to exercise caution when buying health products online, HSA said.
Anyone who supplies such health products is liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to three years and/or fined up to $100,000.
Those who encounter illegal, counterfeit or other suspicious health products are encouraged to call the enforcement branch of HSA on 6866-3485 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org