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Vietnam recalls multiple dietary supplements over banned substances

Vietnam recalls multiple dietary supplements over banned substances

Friday, May 27, 2022, 10:14 GMT+7
Vietnam recalls multiple dietary supplements over banned substances
A weight loss coffee product that was recently recalled by the food safety authority under Vietnam’s Ministry of Health in this supplied photo

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has recalled many dietary supplements containing banned substances following several incidents where consumers were hospitalized after using weight loss products.

The food safety authority under the health ministry has recently announced the recall of the supplement products following the detection of such banned substances.

Most of them are classified as products supporting weight loss, male enhancement, and bone and joint care. 

In March, a 37-year-old woman in Hanoi was admitted to Bach Mai Hospital after consuming a weight loss coffee product.

The patient bought it as recommended by a friend, Nguyen Trung Nguyen, a senior doctor at the infirmary, stated, adding that she had used the product for four days before falling into an unconscious state and suffering convulsions.

“A CT scan showed that the patient’s brain was damaged, but her condition has gradually improved thanks to timely treatment,” Dr. Nguyen continued.

A sample of the coffee was sent to the National Institute of Forensic Medicine for a test, which revealed that the product contained sibutramine, an anti-obesity drug that has been banned by the Ministry of Health due to its harmful side effects.

In January 2021, A., a 43-year-old woman from northern Quang Ninh Province, bought weight loss pills that were advertised to be made from Thai natural herbs.

A. lost three kilograms after one month but she began to vomit blood at the same time.

Her weight had dropped from 70 to only 35 kilograms as she was taken to Bach Mai Hospital in a severely exhausted state.

Doctors had to remove the patient's entire stomach and thoracic esophagus, then used the right ileum to reconstruct the upper digestive tract.

The patient eventually recovered and was able to return to her normal life after three months at the hospital.

According to the food safety authority, such prohibited substances as phenolphthalein and sibutramine were found in the recalled weight loss products.

Meanwhile, PDE5 inhibitors including sildenafil and tadalafil were detected in the recalled male enhancement products, and diclofenac and corticoid were discovered in the bone and joint supplements.

The use of banned substances in the production, processing, and preservation of food or the sale products containing prohibited ingredients are punishable by a fine of VND50-200 million (US$2,150-8,600) or jail terms lasting one to five years.

Offenders can also be criminally charged depending on the severity of the violations.

Consumers are advised to read product labels carefully, especially information about ingredients, effects, and doses to ensure safety when using dietary supplements, officials said.

Buyers should choose products from reputable brands and manufactures, and keep the invoices or order details as proof of their purchase.

They should not buy dietary supplements of unknown origin or hand-carried products advertised on social media.

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Duy Khang - Duong Lieu / Tuoi Tre News

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