How can a victim of counterfeit contact lenses or other defective health products seek redress?
In the past month many cases of counterfeit contact lenses being sold in Singapore have surfaced in the news. The use of such defective products may lead to severe illnesses, including the permanent loss of vision.
In the first place, only a licensed optician or optometrist may prescribe or supply contact lenses, as dictated by Section 25 of the Optometrists and Optician’s Act. Be wary of shady shops, black markets or online websites that purport to supply health products such as contact lenses.
According to Section 16 of the Health Products Act, the supply of adulterated, counterfeit, or unwholesome health products is also a crime punishable with fine and imprisonment. Similarly, the manufacture of health products that are defective, as described in the manner above, is also punishable with fines and imprisonment. This means that a retailer, distributor, or manufacturer of defective products may be liable for their actions.
In addition, under the tort of negligence, a private person who is a victim of a defective product may file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or even the distributor or supplier, for negligence in the manufacture or supply of such products. This is evident in the famous Slim 10 incident, where actress Andrea de Cruz, a victim of defective slimming pills, was awarded compensation by the Court.
On a related note, false advertising of health products is also an offence.
How to seek redress:
- If you know of any counterfeit health products being sold in Singapore, you should contact the Health Sciences Authority.
- If you are a victim of such defective health products, you should make a police report.
- You may also wish to commence a civil lawsuit against the manufacturer or supplier of defective products, to seek compensation.
- For more information on counterfeit contact lenses, click here.