China bans Asian diet pill

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Obesity, Liver damage

After several deaths and cases of liver damage China bans a
slimming drug, which has also caused problems throughout Asia.

The Chinese government has banned a controversial diet pill following a number of deaths in Asia over the last six months, reports BBC Online.

The health ministry in Beijing has withdrawn the licence of the company manufacturing the pill, after tests found that it contains the appetite suppressant, fenfluramine, known to cause liver damage.

An investigation was first called in January after a death was linked to the pill. Since then, authorities in Singapore clamped down on sales of the pill after one woman died and several others needed treatment for liver problems after taking it.

Last week Japan's health ministry issued a warning after one of its residents died and 11 others developed liver damage.

Aswell as fenfluramine, which has been linked in the US to health problems affecting the heart, thyroid and blood, another similar substance was found in the drug. Fenfluramine was banned in China in 2000.

Despite the recent ban there are reports that bottles of Yuzhitang are still being sold in some pharmacies and cosmetics shops, according to the BBC.

The pill has also caused damage in other Asian countries. A version of the pills made by Yuzhitang and sold under the name Slim 10 was banned in Singapore earlier this year after being found to contain fenfluramine.

A Singaporean woman who took Slim 10 died last month after suffering liver failure and the pill also damaged the health of 20 others, including a prominent TV personality, Andrea De Cruz, who needed a liver transplant to survive.

De Cruz is now suing the Chinese manufacturer for damages and the cost of a transplant operation.

In Japan a 60-year-old woman died and 11 others developed liver problems after taking Chinese-made slimming aids which also contained the chemical.

Slimming aids have become increasingly popular in Japan and other Asian countries, where changing diets and lifestyles have led to increasing weight problems and obesity, noted the report.

Related topics: Regulation

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