Fake pills a risky way to lose weight

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - PO­LICE IN SUZHOU,

East China’s Jiangsu province, raided an un­der­ground work­shop pro­duc­ing diet pills on Mon­day. It was the coun­try’s first livestreamed law en­force­ment ac­tion tar­get­ing coun­ter­feit med­i­cal prod­ucts. Bei­jing Youth Daily com­mented on Wed­nes­day:

The diet pill dis­tri­bu­tion net­work un­earthed in the re­cent raid not only in­volves more than 10 sus­pects and more than 10 mil­lion yuan ($1.5 mil­lion), it also spans as many as 20 pro­vin­cial-level re­gions. The pop­u­lar­ity of coun­ter­feit diet pills points to the in­com­pe­tence of rel­e­vant food and drug su­per­vi­sors, and high­lights the need to re­duce many peo­ple’s mis­per­cep­tion that diet pills are the best way to lose weight.

Un­like ex­er­cise and diet, weight-los­ing pills re­quire less time and ef­fort and they are wel­comed by many suf­fer­ing from obe­sity.

How­ever, the coun­ter­feit pills seized in Suzhou con­tained sibu­tramine hy­drochlo­ride, an ap­petite sup­pres­sant that was with­drawn from the Chi­nese mar­ket in 2010 due to it be­ing linked to an in­creased risk of

heart at­tacks and strokes.

Not only did the Suzhou work­shop owner use fake iden­ti­ties and tele­phone num­bers to mail the il­le­gal diet pills, he even dou­bled the dosage of sibu­tramine hy­drochlo­ride after cus­tomers com­plained about the drug’s lim­ited ef­fec­tive­ness.

As a re­sult, those con­sum­ing the pills are ex­posed to grave danger, since there is no way to pro­tect against the ad­verse side ef­fects, rang­ing from high blood pres­sure to a coma.

The com­pen­sa­tion the victims re­ceive is un­likely to help them fully re­cover, be­cause some dam­age to their health is per­ma­nent. Chi­nese drug su­per­vi­sors have to keep such risks at con­trol­lable lev­els and pro­mote healthy, drug-free ways of los­ing weight.

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