Celebrities face the music as health brand runs afoul of FDA
POLICE WILL soon summon 56 Thai celebrities for questioning over their alleged involvement with a well-known food-supplement brand accused of selling its products without proper licences, national police deputy chief Pol General Weerachai Songmetta said yesterday.
Weerachai warned celebrities to check the details of the goods, especially their legality, before reviewing or endorsing them.
His comments came after police on Sunday searched a factory in Pathum Thani province that produced items for Magic Skin Co Ltd, which has been accused of unauthorised use of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hallmarks and producing substandard products.
The search followed complaints from several consumers, which also led to the arrests on Saturday of six suspects linked to the company and the freezing of its assets.
Meanwhile, lawyer Kijja Ali-ishor, representing business owner Wannapa Poungson and her husband Korn Poungson, who are now facing a fraud probe, has sought release on bail for his clients at the Bangkok Criminal Court. The court already granted bails to the couple regarding initial complaint. However, as police filed several more complaints against them, more bail requests had to be submitted.
The lawyer said the issue stemmed from labels on the products, which he claimed did not contain any dangerous ingredient, but cited a different manufacturing factory. He claimed that the firm had already been ordered by the FDA to make the correction. The lawyer believed that his clients were bullied due to a business conflict and would consider suing those defaming them.
The FDA’s deputy chief, pharmacist Somchai Preechathaweekit, said the authority had inspected the company’s factory in Nakhon Ratchasima province and found the site had no machines, ingredients and packaging used in the manufacture of the 227 cosmetic products registered by Wannapa. This meant they were cosmetic products made by other manufacturing methods and facilities than those stated in the FDA registration. Thirty-nine products registered by the firm also had the same legal issue, the inspection concluded.
Somchai dismissed the lawyer’s claim about FDA instruction for correction of the label as untrue because no one had asked for an investigation into the firm until recently.
Somchai said celebrities who helped promote such problematic products might be held accountable for advertising-related offences, punishable with up to Bt100,000 in fines and/or up to a year in jail.
He urged consumers to check products’ FDA-registration numbers – which would soon come in the more-convenient QR code format.
A source at the police Crime Suppression Division said investigators were still questioning alleged victims as more people were filing complaints in this case. As of press time, no more arrest warrants had been sought. The suspects initially taken into police custody were Wannapa, Korn, Kasit Worachingtan, Piraniti Tiranawatthuporn, Maiyasit Sawangthammarat, and Trichada Jaisabai. Maiyasit and Trichada were granted bail during the past weekend.