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Advertisements for weight loss products promising ‘guaranteed results’

Losing weight can be difficult. Weight loss products that promise quick and easy results may seem like an attractive option, but buying unregulated products can cause serious risk to your health, lose your money and possibly break the law.

There are a number of people who are importing weight loss tablets and then advertising them for very low prices in through classified advertisements.

Publishers need to be cautious about when accepting these advertisements and should be suspicious of wild claims, especially “guaranteed results” or “fast acting”.

Often these products are marketed as ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’ weight loss tablets or capsules. However, analysis has found some products contain hidden ingredients that can cause harm to your health.

For example:

  • Sibutramine – a prescription-only substance in Australia. Sibutramine was withdrawn from world markets in 2010 due to increased risk of cardiac events and stroke.
  • Phenolphthalein – it was withdrawn from sale on many markets in the late 1990’s due to concerns that it may cause cancer with long term use.

They can also include other undisclosed ingredients, heavy metals or contaminants resulting from poor manufacturing processes.

If you are going to accept a classified advertisement for weight loss products, ask yourself would this product be on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods?

What action is the TGA taking?

The TGA works closely with the Australian Border Force (ABF) to help stop shipments of products which are known to be potentially dangerous and to sample and identify suspect products so future shipments cannot enter Australia.

If these products are found at the border by the ABF they will be seized and destroyed.

Be cautious about what is being advertised and who is placing the advertisement. Be suspicious of wild claims, especially “guaranteed results” or “fast acting”.


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