The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public not to purchase or use a cream sold under the name "Tao Ju Hui Yi Mei Li Shang Kou Hu Li Ruan Gao" ("淘聚汇益美丽伤口护理软膏").
Child brought to a hospital
A four-year-old child was brought to a hospital to seek treatment for upper respiratory tract infection.
The child was found to have symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome, such as a “moon” face (where extra fat builds up on the sides of the face), excessive hair growth on the body, and thinning of skin.
Cushing’s syndrome is a serious medical condition caused by prolonged use of steroids, said HSA in a statement on Dec. 22.
The child’s parents had been using "Tao Ju Hui Yi Mei Li Shang Kou Hu Li Ruan Gao" on the child regularly for rash over the past four months.
HSA said the product was bought from a local peddler at a makeshift stall in Eunos.
Product was available online
"Tao Ju Hui Yi Mei Li Shang Kou Hu Li Ruan Gao" was also sold on local e-commerce platforms (Shopee, Lazada), Facebook, and a website called “Feili Health House”.
HSA has worked with the local e-commerce platform administrators and Facebook to remove the affected product listings.
The makeshift stall in Eunos is no longer in operation and HSA is currently investigating the website “Feili Health House”.
Marketed as a cream for small wounds for babies
The product was marketed online as a “baby cream” and was labelled to be “used for the care of small wounds, cuts and abrasion” and “acts as a physical barrier by forming a protective layer on the wound surface”.
The product was also falsely labelled to “contain ingredients that cannot be absorbed by the body” and that the “ingredients contained have no medicinal effects”.
In fact, based on HSA’s analysis, the product contains four potent medicinal ingredients, including two steroids.
- Chloramphenicol (antibiotic)
- Clobetasol propionate (steroid)
- Dexamethasone (steroid)
- Ketoconazole (anti-fungal)
These ingredients can pose serious health risks, especially in children, if used without medical supervision, said HSA.
Do not buy health products from unknown sources
HSA said it is especially dangerous to use health products from unknown sources for babies and children as they are at higher risk of experiencing adverse effects from undeclared potent ingredients.
In 2022, HSA detected potent ingredients including steroids in two other topical products marketed for young children, "Star Cream" and "Jolicare".
HSA also issued the following advisory for parents and consumers:
- See a doctor as soon as possible if your child or other family members are using "Tao Ju Hui Yi Mei Li Shang Kou Hu Li Ruan Gao" as it contains potent medicinal ingredients, including steroids. Sudden stopping of the cream without medical supervision may result in the worsening of underlying skin conditions and other serious withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure.
- Exercise caution when purchasing products for use in babies and children, as they are more vulnerable to serious adverse effects. These products include those that are applied on the skin such as creams. Potent ingredients added into the creams can be absorbed into the body and cause adverse effects. Consult a doctor if your child requires prolonged treatment to ensure that the products used are appropriate.
- When purchasing online, only buy from reputable pharmacies and retailers' websites or those with an established retail presence in Singapore.
Top image by HSA.