MANILA, Philippines—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called the attention of a local buy-and-sell website in an effort to prevent unauthorized health products, including slimming and anti-obesity pills, from being advertised and sold online.
Florita Descallar-Moraleja, officer in charge of the FDA’s Health Scams Surveillance and Special Concerns Unit, identified the site as that of sulit.com.ph which has been advertising products containing sibutramine, a harmful ingredient found in some slimming pills.
Products containing sibutramine, Moraleja said, are no longer allowed in the Philippine market pursuant to FDA Memorandum Circular 2010-019 due to the increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
She said the FDA would provide the website with a list of all allowed prescription drugs.
“We are monitoring illegal health product sales on online platforms to protect unsuspecting consumers and patients,” said FDA Acting Director General Kenneth Hartigan Go.
The FDA also appealed to the Bureau of Customs to prevent the entry of unregistered slimming and anti-obesity products into the country.
“These products may contain harmful ingredients,” the health agency said in an advisory posted on its website.
Between 2010 and 2012, the FDA issued recall, seizure and ban orders for at least 26 products which contained amphetamine, sibutramine and steroids. These products came in capsule and coffee form.
“Amphetamine causes irregular heartbeat, confusion, urine retention and painful urination, hyperthermia, hyperreflexia, muscle pain, severe agitation, rapid breathing and tremors,” the FDA said.
It said large doses could produce symptoms such as psychosis, anuria, cardiogenic shock, cerebral hemorrhage, circulatory collapse, extreme fever, pulmonary hypertension, renal failure, rapid muscle breakdown, serotonin syndrome and stereotypy.
“Fatal amphetamine poisoning usually involves convulsions and coma,” the FDA warned.
On the other hand, sibutramine has been shown in a well-designed study to increase the risk of serious heart events—including nonfatal heat attacks, strokes and death—by 16 percent in a group of patients given sibutramine compared with another group given a placebo, the FDA said.
It said the study showed there was only a small difference in weight loss between the placebo group and the sibutramine group.
The FDA advised consumers to use only FDA-approved slimming pills and anti-obesity drugs under the supervision of doctors.
It also ordered its inspectors to seize unregistered slimming products or those containing amphetamine, sibutramine and steroids from all outlets where they are found, sold or offered for sale.
The FDA also urged local government units and enforcement agencies to close down establishments that sell banned or unregistered health products.
Among the FDA-banned slimming products are Ballet Dancer Fat Reducing, Bio-Lissom Fat Reducing, Brazilian Slimming Coffee, Cell Life Slimming Coffee, Elegant Shape Fat Reducing, Goodliness Fat Reducing, Happyslim Leisure 18 Slimming Coffee, Lightness Fat Reducing, Maggie Fitness Essence Mei Shen Ting Anti-Obesity, Modeling Fat-Reducing, New Original Lightness Fat-Reducing, Pearl White Slimming, Perfect Figure Slimming, Perfect Slim Fat Reduction Cosmetic, Perfect Slim Purely Natural Fat Reduction Cosmetic, Pill for Weight Reduction and Pretty Model.
Other banned products include Qiaomei Fat Binder, Qi Xian Nu, Seven Days Miracle, Shaping Body Fat Loss, Slim and Beauty Slimming, Slim Up Extra Whitening and Reducing, and Xianzimei Fat Reduction.