How can a victim of counterfeit contact lenses or other defective health products seek redress?

Last updated on January 17, 2018

There are many cases of counterfeit contact lenses being sold in Singapore. The use of such defective products may lead to severe illnesses, including the permanent loss of vision.

In the first place, only licensed opticians or optometrists may prescribe or supply contact lenses, as dictated by section 25 of the Optometrists and Opticians 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 criminal offence punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. The same penalties apply for people found guilty of manufacturing health products that are defective in the manner as described above. This means that retailers, distributors or manufacturers of defective products can all be held liable if found to have carried out such illegal activities.

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. One example is 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

  1. If you know of any counterfeit health products being sold in Singapore, you should contact the Health Sciences Authority.
  2. If you are a victim of such defective health products, you should make a police report.
  3. You may also wish to commence a civil lawsuit against the manufacturer or supplier of defective products to seek compensation.
  4. See here for more information from the Health Sciences Authority on counterfeit contact lenses