SINGAPORE: After trying a weight loss product and finding it to be effective, a woman began importing pill bottles from Malaysia and selling them online to customers in Singapore through Qoo10, Shopee and Instagram.
However, the pills at Clinic K contained sibutramine, a substance banned in Singapore since 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
After a customer reported to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) that he developed a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath and dizziness after taking the pills for two days, the seller was caught.
Maithili Vijayakumar, 37, was fined S $ 6,000 on Thursday (May 6) on a charge of possession for sale of 13 bottles of capsules containing sibutramine, a poison listed under the Poisons Act.
If she does not pay the fine, she will have to serve three weeks in prison by default.
The court heard that Maithili ordered the pills in January 2020 for his own consumption. They have been marketed as “Medically Safe” and “Korea’s # 1 Clinical Weight Loss Formula”, containing natural ingredients such as amino acids and green tea extract.
As Maithili found the pills effective, she began ordering more from her Malaysian supplier in Ipoh for her online account, Misty Beauty Bar, which operated on Qoo10, Shopee and Instagram.
She bought over 200 bottles for S $ 55 a bottle and marked up the prices to S $ 99 or S $ 110 for each and sold most of them over two and a half months. Maithili made between S $ 8,000 and S $ 10,000 in profits.
One of his customers bought a bottle for S $ 110 from Qoo10 in May 2020 and developed a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and other symptoms. Even after halving the dose and later stopping taking the pills, the symptoms persisted and the woman reported to HSA.
The authority analyzed the pills and found high levels of sibutramine in them.
The substance was previously a prescription-only drug for weight loss and has been banned in Singapore since 2010 due to the increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. The level of sibutramine found in the product was double the previously allowed maximum daily dose.
Marketing materials included a “warning” of potential effects such as nausea, dizziness, restlessness and rapid heartbeat due to the “caffeine content” of the product, but the effects are actually associated with sibutramine. .
When the HSA inspected Maithili’s home in June 2020, they found 13 bottles of Clinic K with 780 capsules in total and seized them.
The prosecutor requested a fine of S $ 7,000, claiming that Maithili had operated three online platforms with a large customer base and that adverse reactions had been reported in one customer.
Maithili’s defense attorney demanded a fine of less than S $ 7,000, claiming his client had remorse and had stopped selling the pills when told by the HSA.
She could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to S $ 10,000 for breaking the poisons law.