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Fake Ciba Vision Colour Contact Lenses Found On Shops - 20Jul2011
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Uploaded on Jul 20, 2011
SINGAPORE: The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said it found counterfeit coloured contact lenses being sold in local optical shops in June.
The counterfeits are imitations of "FreshLook ColorBlends" by CIBA VISION and have been found to be "unsafe and of poor quality".
This is the first known case of counterfeit health products found in legitimate suppliers.
HSA said it has seized more than 100 boxes from at least five optical shops islandwide.
The counterfeits look almost authentic, apart from typographical errors on the packaging.
It is difficult to differentiate between the authentic and counterfeit lenses with the naked eye.
Chan Cheng Leng, Division Director, Enforcement, Health Sciences Authority, said: "Our laboratories have found that the lens quality is very different from the authentic product.
"One glaring difference is that the colour pigments, which are supposed to be on the external surface of the lenses of the authentic products were found on the internal surface of the contact lens. But those are not visible to the naked eye."
HSA said lab tests also found that the storage liquid was not sterile and was contaminated with a bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa - a harmful bacteria that has been known to cause eye infections in contact lens users.
So far, HSA said one consumer has reported extreme discomfort when she tried to wear the counterfeit lenses.
The unnamed woman, who is in her 30s, and wanted to remain anonymous, reportedly removed the lenses immediately when she could not close her eyes after wearing them.
In a statement, CIBA VISION said this is the first time its lenses have been counterfeited.
The company was alerted to this when some optical shops tried to exchange the counterfeit products with CIBA VISION.
Upon investigation, CIBA VISION confirmed the products were counterfeits as they were not manufactured by them.
HSA said previous cases of counterfeit health products were largely confined to the black market or internet, and they mostly involved imitations of "lifestyle" drugs like erectile dysfunction medicines such as Viagra and Cialis.
HSA said the case is still under investigation. So far, more than 10 people have been questioned by HSA in connection with this case.
"Based on our preliminary investigations, at least five optical shops are being investigated. All counterfeit products have been withdrawn from these shops, and we have stepped up our surveillance and enforcement activities in the optical shops. Our findings so far is that the shops that have been investigated or undergoing surveillance, the products are in order," said Mr Chan.
It is unclear if the retailers knew the products are counterfeits, but HSA said they were "knowingly not buying from an authorised dealer" - as they got some 50 per cent savings when getting them even though they were probably sold to consumers at the same price as the authentic products.
Anyone found guilty of supplying counterfeit medical devices faces a fine of up to S$100,000 or three years' jail.
The public can contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at 68663485 to report any counterfeit health products.
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