The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has tested products labelled:
- Caro White Lightening Oil 50mL bottle
- Caro White Lightening Beauty Lotion 500mL bottle
- Caro White Lightening Beauty Cream 500mL jar
- Carotone Lightening Body Lotion 550mL bottle
- Carotone Black Spot Corrector 30mL jar.
The analysis revealed that the substance hydroquinone exceeds 2% concentration, which is higher than declared. A 2% or higher concentration of hydroquinone indicates that the products are medicines and are included in Schedule 4 (Prescription only medicines) of the current Poisons Standard.
The supply of these Caro white and Carotone products in Australia is illegal as they have not been entered into the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). The TGA have not evaluated the products and the manufacturing location has not been approved.
Under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989, prescription only medicines pose a higher level of risk and are entered into the ARTG after evaluation for quality, safety and efficacy.
Information for consumers
- Stop using Caro White and Carotone products and take any remaining products to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.
- If you have used any of these products and have concerns, consult your health care practitioner.
- If you suspect a side effect (adverse event) to any product, please make an online report to the TGA or telephone 1800 020 653
- If you have concerns about any product (therapeutic goods) you can also make a report to the TGA.
Hydroquinone is generally used for cosmetic purposes to treat skin conditions related to hyperpigmentation. Consumers are advised that in Australia, products containing more than 2% hydroquinone for human therapeutic or cosmetic use require a prescription.
The TGA advises consumers to exercise extreme caution when purchasing medicines from unverified overseas websites. Buying medicines online may seem like a simple and affordable option, but these products may be a serious risk to your health and a waste of money. Unsafe products, especially those sold by online sellers that do not request a doctor’s prescription, can put you at serious risk of unpredictable or severe adverse reactions. The products may contain undeclared and harmful active ingredients. A lack of manufacturing and testing standards can result in contaminated products.
The TGA is working with the Australian Border Force (ABF) to stop shipments of Caro white and Carotone products entering Australia. The ABF will seize and destroy any of these products as they are stopped at the Australian border.