The two products in question are Bao Fu Ling Snow Lotus Cream and Bao Fu Ling Skin care cream, which are manufactured by Beijing Bao Shu Tang Sci-Tech Pharmaceutical.
According to the press statement, the approval to sell the products has been revoked by the Senior Director of Pharmaceutical Services following the detection of diphenhydramine.
Questionable ingredient detected
Diphenhydramine is classified as pharmaceutical product and is listed as a scheduled poison under the First Schedule of Poison Act 1952.
It is commonly used as an antihistamine to treat symptoms of allergies or the common cold.
“[We] would like to urge the public to refrain from buying and using the following cosmetic products which had been found to contain scheduled poison,” said Director-General of Health Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Bin Abdullah.
According to Datuk Noor Hisham, products containing diphenhydramine require registration with the Drug Control Authority (DCA).
Such products are used to temporarily relieve itching and pain caused by insect bites, mild sunburn and minor skin irritations.
He said: “The unsupervised usage of preparations containing diphenhydramine can increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and cause severe allergic reaction… Consumers are advised to stop using these products and seek further advice from healthcare professionals, if experiencing any unpleasant effects or adverse events.”
Sellers warned to stop sales immediately
Distributors were warned to halt the sales of the two products immediately.
According to the statement, the sale and distribution of these cosmetic products violates the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulation of 1984.
An individual found to be committing an offence under the regulations can be fined up to a maximum of RM25,000 ($6,127) and face up three years imprisonment.
For second or subsequent offences shall be liable on conviction to a find up to RM50,000 ($12,254) and face up to five years imprisonment.
A company that is found guilty of the crime can be fined up to RM50,000 ($12,254) for the first offence and fined up to a maximum of RM100,000 ($24,507) for subsequent offences.
Bao Fu Ling flagged again
According to NPRA, this is not the first time products from Beijing Bao Shu Tang Sci-Tech Pharmaceutical have been flagged for containing diphenhydramine.
The manufacturer distributes its products in Malaysia, Singapore and Bruniei through Kuala Lumpur-based Bao Fu Ling Global Enterprise.
According to the company’s website, Bao Fu Ling’s Snow Lotus Cream is its star product that is used to treat pimples and sensitive skin.
The product description claims it is a ‘first class quality product that has been used for over 30 years’ and is formulated with ‘pure and refined Chinese herbs’ that have been researched by Beijing Bao Shu Tang Sci-tech Pharmaceutical.
Additionally, it claimed that the product has been tested be ‘reputable’ labs and is free from steroids, heavy metals, alcohol and lard.
Among ingredients such as camphor, citronella, menthol and tea tree oil, the website does not list diphenhydramine as an ingredient.