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In brief

On 8 June 2021, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) announced that it had removed more than 3,200 listings of illegal health products from local e-commerce platforms from January to May 2021, with over 700 product listings removed during the week of intensified surveillance in mid-May.

Key takeaways

  • Sellers and suppliers should note that prescription medicines can only be prescribed by doctors. An individual who sells prescription medicines without the requisite license is in breach of the Health Products Act and may be imprisoned for up to 2 years and/or fined up to SGD 50,000 upon conviction.
  • Further, anyone who supplies products that are adulterated or carry misleading claims may be imprisoned for up to 3 years and/or fined up to SGD 100,000 upon conviction.


On 8 June 2021, the HSA announced that over 3,200 product listings were taken down from local e-commerce platforms from January to May 2021. This announcement followed the HSA’s participation in Operation Pangea, a global enforcement operation aimed at clamping down on the online sale of illegal health products.

Most of the removed product listings were prescription medicines for chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Some lifestyle health products such as weight loss pills and cosmetic products for skin whitening were tested to be adulterated with harmful or banned ingredients, and were removed accordingly.

Sellers and suppliers have been reminded not to sell prescription medicines through improper channels, or health products that are adulterated or carry misleading claims.

The full HSA announcement may be found here.


Ren Jun is an associate principal of Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow. Ren Jun extensively represents local and international intellectual property-intensive clients in both contentious and non-contentious IP matters, such as anti-counterfeiting; civil and criminal litigation; commercial issues; regulatory clearance; and advertising laws. Ren Jun also advises on a wide range of issues relating to the healthcare industries. These include regulatory compliance in respect of drugs, medical devices, clinical trials, health supplements and cosmetics; product liability and recall; and anti-corruption. Ren Jun is currently a member of the Firm's Asia Pacific Healthcare ASEAN Economic Community; Product Liability and Regulatory Sub-Committees.

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