FDA to Action Against Thai Weight-Loss Products

Following the recent death of an 18-year-old schoolgirl in Nonthaburi, Thailand, reportedly due to the side effects of mail-order weight-loss products, the Food and Drug Administration has been instructed to take legal action against the makers of L-Carnitine Plus+ and Paody Slim Capsule.

Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit yesterday said the girl's father asked the ministry to investigate the food supplements found in his daughter's room and that the ministry would pass the complaint to police.

The FDA will cooperate with police to bring the wrongdoers to justice, he said.

Police will be asked to arrange a press conference for the suspects, because in the past many violators simply closed their company and then opened a new one to launch another product to dupe consumers, he said.

The FDA and police indicted Advance Bio Product last December 25 over L-Carnitine Plus+, and the case was still in court, he said.

It was an unauthorised product, boasting of stimulating the body's metabolism while adding a weight-loss substance called Salbutamine that was a dangerous drug to be used under a doctor's directions only.

As for "PAODY Slim Capsule", an initial inspection didn't find an FDA registration number displayed on it and it was suspected of containing a weight-loss medicine, he said.

The failure to show an FDA number was punishable by a fine up to Bt30,000 (US$1,300), while adding the weight-loss drug was punishable by up to two years in jail and a Bt20,000 fine and the exaggerated advertising by up to three years in jail and/or a Bt30,000 fine.

Jurin said he also urged the FDA to work with the ICT Ministry to close the websites that promoted these products.

The father said the death of his only daughter should serve as a warning to those hoping to lose pounds, especially youths, not to order such products online. Some of them might not have received a medical certificate or FDA approval and their manufacturers didn't care about consumers, he said.

He said his daughter had complained of feeling tired the night before she was found dead in the morning.

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