Weight Loss Products Deemed Dangerous
Written by Faith Anderson on December 6, 2011
Potentially Dangerous “Homeopathic” Weight Loss Drugs
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone produced by the human placenta and can be found in the urine of pregnant women. HCG is FDA-approved as an injectable prescription medication for the treatment of some cases of female infertility and other medical conditions. The labeling for the “homeopathic” HCG products states that each product should be taken in conjunction with a very low calorie diet.
“These HCG products marketed over-the-counter are unproven to help with weight loss and are potentially dangerous even if taken as directed,” warned Ilisa Bernstein, acting director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “And a very low calorie diet should only be used under proper medical supervision.” The FDA indicates that there is no substantial evidence that HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from the caloric restriction recommended by the product manufacturers. Furthermore, consumers on a very low calorie diet are at an increased risk of serious side effects, including electrolyte imbalance, gallstone formation and heart arrhythmias.
Weight Loss Drug Manufacturers Accused of Deceptive Advertising
“Deceptive advertising about weight loss products is one of the most prevalent types of fraud,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Any advertiser who makes health claims about a product is required by federal law to back them up with competent and reliable scientific evidence, so consumers have the accurate information they need to make good decisions.” According to the warning letters issued, the companies have fifteen days to notify the FDA of the steps they have taken to correct the violations cited. According to the FDA, failure to do so may result in legal action, including seizure and injunction or possibly even criminal prosecution.