Warning on buying unregulated slimming preparations

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Posted 11 April 2016

In terms of Regulation 48C published in November 2013, “complementary medicines falling in Category D and in the pharmacological classification 32.3 (Slimming preparations) and pharmacological classifications 7.1, 21.7 (Male sex hormones), pharmacological classification 21.8 (Female sex hormones) and pharmacological classification 21.9 (androgen-oestrogen combinations) claiming sexual stimulation and sexual dysfunction available for sale in the Republic on the date on which it comes into operation shall be subjected to registration within 24 months of the date of this publication.” That deadline therefore expired in November 2015. Those products for which a complete application for registration has not been submitted should now be removed from the market.

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) has issued a warning which applies everywhere, not just in Australia.

Weight loss: beware of buying unregulated products online

8 April 2016

http://www.tga.gov.au/community-qa/weight-loss-beware-buying-unregulated-products-online

We understand that losing weight can be difficult. Weight loss products that promise quick and easy results may seem like an attractive option, but buying unregulated products online from overseas can cause you to seriously risk your health, lose your money and possibly break the law.

Be cautious about what you are buying and who you are buying from. Be suspicious of wild claims, especially “guaranteed results” or “fast acting”.

Often these products are marketed as ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’ weight loss tablets or capsules. However, analysis in our laboratories has found some products contain hidden ingredients that can cause harm to your health. For example:

  • Sibutramine – a prescription-only substance in Australia. Sibutramine was withdrawn from world markets in 2010 due to increased risk of cardiac events and stroke.
  • Phenolphthalein – it was withdrawn from sale on many markets in the late 1990’s due to concerns that it may cause cancer with long term use.

They can also include other undisclosed ingredients, heavy metals or contaminants resulting from poor manufacturing processes.

If you are going to buy weight loss products online, consider these questions:

  • Did you receive an appropriate consultation by a qualified medical professional?
  • Has the product been evaluated by the TGA for safety, quality and efficacy? Is it on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods?
  • If I suffer an adverse reaction, am I able to again consult with the medical professional?

What should I do if I’ve purchased a weight loss product from overseas?

If you’ve taken a product that has been issued a safety alert, stop taking it immediately and take any remaining product to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.

If you have any concerns, consult a health professional.

Keep an eye on our safety alerts, where we publish information about products known to be potentially dangerous.

What action is the TGA taking?

We work closely with the Australian Border Force (ABF) to help stop shipments of products which are known to be potentially dangerous and to sample and identify suspect products so future shipments cannot enter Australia.

If these products are found at the border by the ABF they will be seized and destroyed.

Be cautious about what you are buying and who you are buying from. Be suspicious of wild claims, especially “guaranteed results” or “fast acting”.

However, unlike Australia, where there is some action being taken against these products, in South Africa nothing has happened. The market is still flooded with unsubstantiated or scam weight-loss products. The MCC has yet to act against a single company.

 

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