It’s Not Just the United States: Fake Diet Pills Are a Real Problem in the U.K.


The United Kingdom’s Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has launched an information and safety campaign concerning dangerous fake diet pills.

The MHRA is asking U.K. residents to not take chances with lose-weight-fast promises with their “Dodgy Diet Pills” campaign, warning consumers that “fake or unlicensed medical products sold as slimming pills are untested,” and the contents of the pills as well as the impact on users are unknown.

The number of seizures the MHRA has carried out on illicit diet pills is sobering. “MHRA seized over 240,000 doses of unlicensed slimming pills in 2015, and closed down over 2,000 unauthorised online retailers. Research carried out by MHRA in 2016 showed that although shoppers believe themselves to be ‘internet-savvy,’ 79% of the public are unaware of the issue of fake medical products,” reports the MHRA in Dodgy Diet Pills: Dying to Lose Weight?

United States residents face the same dangers. The FDA has sent out hundreds of recall notices on weight loss products in the last 6 years, most of which have been offered for sale via illicit websites. The most common ingredient found in fake weight loss pills is sibutramine, the ingredient in “[a formerly] FDA-approved drug called Meridia, which was removed from the market in October 2010 because it caused heart problems and strokes.”

As recently as March 2016, a Louisiana woman was convicted of selling Chinese-made “all-natural” diet pills laced with sibutramine.

To learn more about this problem in the United States, read When “Natural” is Just a Word: Dietary Supplements Aren’t Always What They Seem.

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