Disclosure by the FTI’s food supplements industry club came after police and officials from the Food and Drugs Administration raided several major manufacturing plants and found huge cache of substandard and fake cosmetic and food supplements.
Some products were even found to be contaminated as they used a same substance or precursor that is used to produce “meths”.
The club president Mr Nakan Tawichawat said the FTI’s food supplements club has held talks with the FDA on a possibility to interpret the selling of fake food supplements with ingredient of medication used in Viagra as selling fake medicines which carries hefty penalties.
He said in such case, prison term for selling fake or counterfeit drugs will increase to 3-5 years, while manufacturer producing substandard food supplements will face closure.
Besides, informer of factories producing substandard food supplements will get cash rewards for the information, he said.
For celebrities who were hired to review the counterfeit goods or act as presenters, penalties would be light.
But for celebrities who are owners of the products, he said FDA officials have found some of their food supplements contained a mixture of “Sibutramine”, an appetite suppressant for diet and is also a precursor in producing methamphetamine or “meths”.
He said some whitening creams were also contaminated with heavy metal while some coffee brands had mixtures of Chinese-made Viagra, and Orlistat, a drug designed to treat obesity.
He said currently Thailand’s cosmetic and food supplement market is worth almost 100 billion baht a year from just a billion baht previously.
Up to 40% of the cosmetic and food supplements products are substandard and counterfeit, especially food supplements, he said.
He went on saying that there are over 1,000 factories which produce quality standards products, while over 10,000 factories are substandard.
He added that GS1 Thailand which is a non-profit organisation will soon allow producers of cosmetic products and food supplements to apply for “Dragon Code” which will enable consumers to differentiate authentic products from counterfeits sold in the markets.