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LGA Calls for Ban on Unlicensed Diet Pills

March 7, 2016
Food

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the government to do more to stop the number of websites selling ‘quick fix diet pills.’ Recent raids have exposed a thriving black market in the pills, many of which contain the highly toxic dinitrophenol (DNP). The chemical, which accelerates the metabolism leading to dangerous side effects, can be used legally in manufacturing but was linked to a number of deaths last year.

Quantities of ‘Reductil’ have also been found, despite the drug being banned six years ago after there were fears that its active ingredient sibutramine, increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Councils want more funding to launch a nationwide awareness campaign warning of the dangers of purchasing unlicensed products, many of which mark themselves as ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’. The maximum sentence sellers can currently receive under food safety legislation is two years’ imprisonment.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said; “Numerous websites make attractive claims by offering ‘quick-fix’ solutions for tablets. ‘Natural’ or ‘herbal’ doesn’t mean they are safe. Many of these slimming pills will not be licensed medicines and contain unknown and dangerous ingredients which could seriously endanger people’s health and could cost them their lives. Weight loss pills should only be used on a prescription basis and obtained from a reputable high street or registered pharmacy which can trade online.” The Food Standards Agency recently launched Operation Sycamore, an initiative that directly targets those criminals responsible for the trade in DNP.