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However, the counterfeit pills seized in Suzhou contained sibutramine hydrochloride, an appetite suppressant that was withdrawn from the Chinese market in 2010 due to it being linked to an increased risk of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