Rampant nutritional supplements sold in market

The news of the death of a British student a few days ago because of taking dietary supplements raised concern among public. This is an alarming bell ringing to all those who want to lose weight as quickly as possible.

Though Ceng Fui Yen is forbid selling by Vietnamese Ministry of Health, it is present in shelves in pharmacies in streets Hai Thuong Lan Ong and Luong Nhu Hoc in district 5 (Photo: SGGP)

However, dietary supplements or nutritional supplements made in foreign countries are sold rampantly in websites. Of them, some are banned by US Food and Drug Administration but still sold in Vietnam.

One of them are two day diet, three day fit, or 3xslimming power cost at VND120,000-390,000 (US$5.6-18.17) per pack or VND500,000- 1,000,000 (US$23.30-46.61). Though they are sold at soft price, these supplements claim to detoxify and cleanse the body producing weight lose.

Moreover, store assistants said that these supplements contain extracts of a Japanese fungus or Australian sheep placenta which are good for customers' health.

Along with these supplements that are banned by health authorities in foreign countries, some of them are forbidden to sell in markets by Vietnamese Ministry of Health, yet they are present on shelves of many pharmacies in Ho Chi Minh City. For instance, drug Ceng Fui Yen are banned due to containing Cyproheptadine and Dexamethasone yet it is sold in Chinese pharmacies along streets Hai Thuong Lan Ong and Luong Nhu Hoc in district 5.

Lately, police in district 7 liaising with Economy Police Department, a part of the Ministry of Public Security, suddenly detected 600 batches of nutritional supplements which are fakes of famous brand names in the world such as Best, 2 day, 3 x, Sac Ngoc Khang.

Before, police in Hanoi also discovered 15 tons of nutritional supplement fakes including royal jelly, sheep placenta or seaweed which smugglers confessed that these supplements are made in China and then they sealed fake stamps to disguise the supplements are from Japan, Australia or the US to gain higher profits.

Dr. Bui Minh Trang, health inspector chief of the Department of Health in HCMC. Said that in the first quarter this year, inspectors have fined businesses which violated brand names of the products, boasting of nutritional supplement use with total fines of VND133.5 million (US$6,223); however, he said that the fine is slight not enough to deter smugglers and businesses from committing violations.

In order to prevent nutritional supplement fakes circulating in markets to deceive those who are  fond of cheap products, Nguyen Hung Long, deputy chief of the Department Food Safety and Hygiene said health authorities and related agencies must strictly tighten control of issuance of license and circulation.

Hung also advised consumers to buy such products in big pharmacies to protect themselves. He added that consumers could take a legal action against businesses or distributors of the fakes.

By Gia Han - Translated by Anh Quan

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