Posted 5 January 2012
This scam is being sold in the Eastern Cape. It demonstrates the psychological desperation in trying to lose weight – consumers will try anything, even if the ingredients are not known, the product is not registered, the product is unknown. It demonstrates the problem associated with a Medicines Control Council that is ineffective and cannot (will not) protect consumers.[note color=”#feeca4″]If you have purchased this product, could you please comment below what the ingredients of the product is (we are led to believe that it contains a banned risky substance)
This article was published in the Weekend Post of Saturday 31 December 2011
Women and youth fall prey to risky new weight loss pill
WEEKEND POST REPORTER Saturday 31 December 2011
A POTENTIALLY dangerous and illegal diet pill that is crudely branded “F*ck Off Fat” is becoming increasingly popular among Eastern Cape women and youths who have little regard for what it may contain in their desperate pursuit to lose weight.
Even though the branding of the drug does not bear a registered trademark icon or any indication of what the capsules contain, as is required by law, users swear it yields “amazing” results and has no side-effects.
But pharmacists have warned against the use of the product. They say it is potentially dangerous to take pills without knowing what they contain and that the drug is illegal as its contents are not indicated.
It has also not been registered with the South African Medicines Control Council.
And, according to police, the “diet drug” is being aggressively marketed to naive youths in Nelson Mandela Bay’s northern areas where it is being sold in informal shops and by word-of-mouth to a generation following the current “thin-is-in” trend.
The crudely named “miracle” product, which comes in packaging containing 50 un-branded green-and-white capsules, is also being marketed through word of mouth in other parts of Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape.
One container of pills is believed to sell for around R300.
Port Elizabeth police spokesman Captain Stanley Jarvis said he was aware the capsules were being directed particularly at teenagers In the northern areas.
“If the ingredients are not identified on the container or anywhere inside, and if the product has not been tested by pharmaceutical authorities and has not been registered with the Medicines Control Council, then it is certainly illegal,” Jarvis said.
He added there were other criminal implications, such as drugs being sold without VAT having been added.
East London police spokesman Captain Stephen Marais said he had not yet encountered the capsules in the city.
“As soon as we come across this sort of thing, we will involve our commercial crimes unit and get to the bottom of it.
“It would appear these capsules are illegal and there is the possibility that they contain some sort of drug. The public should not take any tablets or medication that have not been approved by the authorities,” he said.
After viewing a container of F*ck Off Fat, Klinimed pharmacist Cheryl Booysen said besides the crassness of the product’s name, the capsules appeared to be illegal.
“It is very dangerous to take any medication if you do not know its contents.
“It could react with other medication being used or it could be harmful to people suffering from certain illnesses or ailments such as heart or high blood pressure problems,” Booysen said.
She said every year “at this time” products appeared on the market and promised to address the weight people had gained all year and over the festive season.
“If there was a miracle drug out there, everyone would be using it and everyone would be thin. There is no miracle drug for weight loss.” Blooms Nu Pharmacy pharmacist Penny Bell echoed these sentiments, saying the packaging appeared to be “backyard” produced.
“It appears as if this is being sold illegally and I would strongly advise people to stay away from products of this nature,” she said.
Jackie Hendricks, of John Forbes Pharmacy in East London, said there were a lot of products like F*ck Off Fat on the market.
“I had one woman bring me a container for the product last week asking if I had it in stock, which I don’t. First of all, the name does not exactly excite me,” Hendricks said.
“The woman told me she ordered it on the internet. Products like these are being peddled by unsavoury traders.”
But a number of women, who asked not to be identified, told Weekend Post they were taking the drug and said they were pleased with the results achieved.
One dieter said she lost two kilograms in a week after recently taking the pills.
While acknowledging the drug may be illegal as she had “no idea” what it contained, she said she would take the capsules again after a week’s break from use, as “recommended” on the label.
“The capsules seem very popular. Everyone in my circle of friends is talking about them,” she said.
“But I know some people stopped because they were losing too much weight.”
Another user said she had lost three kilograms in six days after starting the pills. “There are no side-effects.
“I don’t battle to sleep, I have no problems, and I am eating normally,” she said.
In an investigation to trace the source of the product, Weekend Post was directed by users to a man in Port Elizabeth. However, when contacted, the alleged distributor confirmed knowledge of the capsules but denied being involved in distributing them.
According to one source who asked not to be named due to being involved in anabolic steroids in the past, F*ck Off Fat was being produced in a “lab” in Kwa-Zulu-Natal.
“I don’t think they contain ephedrine [an appetite suppressant for which a prescription is required] or that they are harmful.
“They may have some kind of vitamins in them. I have not tried them but I have heard they work very well,” he said.
The Medicines Control Council, which regulates and approves all medicine for human and animal consumption, could not be reached for comment.
However, in documentation on the council’s website, which addresses regulations applicable to packaging, it states the container must bear the registration number of the medicine in it, the approved name of each active ingredient and an expiry date.
None of these is indicated on the F*ck Off Fat container which is in Weekend Post’s possession.