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Health supplement businesses in Taiwan warn of rampant fraud

Commercial interests aside, industry players caution about health consequences

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Real (left) and fake Weider probiotic products. (Weider screenshot)

Real (left) and fake Weider probiotic products. (Weider screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Frustrated dietary supplement businesses in Taiwan have expressed concern over counterfeit products being peddled online that not only hurt corporate profitability but also put people’s health at risk.

Fake fan pages and shopping sites, usually comprising just one page, are becoming major platforms for such scams. Consumers are lured to purchase less costly imitations of a wide range of authentic products.

So serious is the issue that some industry players have described online fraud in Taiwan as something completely out of control and a state of “anarchy,” per Newtalk.

Particularly alarming are the copycat versions of nutritional supplements, as flagged by Weider, a U.S. brand that has built a reputation in Taiwan for its probiotic products. In the past six months, it has received multiple complaints about “substandard” Weider goods bought online that turned out to be fakes.

The company is urging consumers not to fall for fake discount offers like “buy one get one free" or purchase supplements from unreliable sources. Long-term consumption of such products could lead to serious health consequences, it cautioned.

The problem has existed for some time but has not been addressed, Weider said, adding local and international brands are vulnerable as long as they are well known. Weider is asking the authorities to take a more proactive role in curbing the sale of fake goods.