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In brief

On 15 July 2021, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) fined Riway (Singapore) Pte Ltd SGD 3,000 for making false claims that its health supplement product, Purtier Placenta, is able to treat diseases and conditions such as cancer and diabetes.

Key takeaways

In Singapore, sellers and suppliers of health supplements are prohibited from making false or misleading claims. Advertisements for health supplements are also prohibited from containing claims that indicate or suggest that the product will prevent, alleviate or cure diseases or conditions specified in the First Schedule of the Medicines Act, such as cancer. 

Any individual found guilty of publishing false or misleading advertisements may be fined up to SGD 5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to two years. 

In more detail

In 2016, the HSA issued multiple warnings and advisories to Riway Singapore Pte Ltd on the inaccurate and misleading health claims relating to their Purtier Placenta supplement.

However, the HSA became aware in 2019 that the company was still publishing materials containing the objectionable claims that thereby necessitated further enforcement action. 

On 15 July 2021, Riway was convicted in court and fined SGD 3,000 under the Medicines Act.

Purtier Placenta had been marketed as a product that, among others, will ‘cure’ diabetes and has ‘anti-cancer effects’. However, there is a lack of scientifically verified published clinical studies that prove the aforementioned. The HSA has also debunked claims that the product contains stem cells that are able to alleviate or cure particular diseases and conditions.

Further, medicines that are authorized by HSA for treating diseases are subject to rigorous clinical trials and must comply with various stringent criteria on safety, quality and efficacy. Purtier Placenta is neither registered nor approved by the HSA for use as a medicine in Singapore. 

The HSA has advised consumers to exercise caution when purchasing or using products with exaggerated or misleading claims, particularly those that claim to cure, prevent or treat medical conditions and diseases.


Andy Leck is the managing principal of Baker McKenzie.Wong & Leow. Mr. Leck is recognised by the world’s leading industry and legal publications as a leader in his field. Asian Legal Business notes that he “always gives good, quick advice, [is] client-focused and has strong technical knowledge for his areas of practice”. Alongside his current role as managing principal, Mr. Leck has held several leadership positions in the Firm and externally as a leading IP practitioner. He currently serves on the International Trademark Association's Board of Directors and is a member of the Singapore Copyright Tribunal.


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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