Tests uncover Viagra in stars' diet products

Tests uncover Viagra in stars' diet products

Vast majority of brands 'substandard'

This crude home-kitchen set-up has allegedly been manufacturing sub-standard dietary supplements, promoted by celebrities but using many strange and dangerous ingredients. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
This crude home-kitchen set-up has allegedly been manufacturing sub-standard dietary supplements, promoted by celebrities but using many strange and dangerous ingredients. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

A precursor used to make methamphetamine, or ya ba, mercury and even Viagra were among ingredients found in substandard dietary supplement products and cosmetics promoted and sold by celebrities, the Dietary Supplement Industry Club said Wednesday.

According to Nakah Thawichawatt, the chairman of the club, which comes under the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said the federation and authorities recently conducted random tests on samples to check the quality of dietary supplements on the market.

Test results revealed sibutramine, a precursor for making ya ba, was found in weight loss products owned by several actors and actresses, said Mr Takah.

Mercury, a toxic substance, was also found in some skin-whitening products while some coffee products contain Chinese-made Viagra, said Mr Nakah, without naming the brand.

Mr Nakah said the local cosmetic and dietary supplement market is a lucrative one, valued at 100 billion baht a year.

He estimated that 40% of the products, mostly dietary supplements, are substandard.

According to him, more than 1,000 factories supply legitimate and up-to-standard products while 10,000 others do not.

Despite obtaining labels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some suppliers later fail to keep products in line with required standards.

The FTI and FDA are discussing how to locate the wrongdoers and revise laws to impose harsher penalties against suppliers who secretly use drugs such as Viagra, in their products.

They could face a charge of supplying fake medicine, which would be punishable to up to five years in prison, he noted.

Meanwhile, the final suspect in the Magic Skin cosmetics and weight loss products scandal surrendered to police, bringing the number of people acknowledging charges to eight.

Crime Suppression Division commander Maitree Chimcherd said Thananpan Bunyosit turned herself in to Crime Suppression Division police to hear charges.

Ms Thananpan declined to answer reporters' questions when she arrived at the CSD office. Her lawyer said his client denied all charges and would testify only before a court.

Another suspect, Mathuros Dangsamrit, said she only bought the products to sell to members of her sales team, deputy national police chief Wirachai Songmetta said.

She said she bought 400,000 boxes of products, worth 39 million baht, from Wannapha Puangson, who created the product brands, Pol Gen Wirachai.

Ms Mathuros said she paid 29 baht for each pack and sold them for 299 baht.

Pol Gen Wirachai said the company's products under the Slim Milk and Snow Milk trademark only contain powdered milk.

Slim Milk claimed it contains Tinospora cordifolia, aloe vera and senna, which help consumers achieve good figures, he noted.

Snow Milk claims it contains collagen, but again is only powdered milk mixed with pink colouring, according to the deputy police chief.

Meanwhile, police searched a house in Nonthaburi's Bang Yai, which was registered with the FDA as the production facility for Magic Skin Co.

The search found neither machinery nor products in the house, said Tourist Police Division 3 Chief Maj Gen Angkoon Klaiklueng, who led the search.

He said the registration was false and an investigation will be launched to find out where the real factory is.

Pol Maj Gen Maitree said 56 celebrities who promoted the products will be summoned for questioning from next week.

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