Junkfood Science: Encouraging unhealthy weight loss attempts in girls

February 17, 2007

Encouraging unhealthy weight loss attempts in girls

Concerns were recently raised here that an over-the-counter version of the prescription diet pill, Xenical, that was just approved, would make it even easier for teens and children to get it and be put at risk. New evidence from Australia shows such concerns are well-founded.

Requirements for its sale there make it only available to those with acute weight problems. The Sunday Telegraph reported this past November that teen girls were buying Xenical via the internet to avoid being weighed and measured by pharmaciests. Today, it reports on an undercover investigation which found that eight out of ten pharmacies are breaking industry rules by selling it to thin people. Clair Weaver also reports:

Pharmacies giving obesity drug to slim buyers

...Chemists are breaching professional guidelines by failing to check that customers who want to buy Xenical are very overweight or obese. The weight-loss drug, which was originally available only on prescription, can produce gruesome side-effects and is recommended only for those with acute weight problems. Its manufacturer, Roche, came under fire last year for advertising the drug during the reality TV show Australian Idol, popular with self-conscious teenage girls.

....Of the 30 pharmacies tested, 24 sold the drug to the teenager with little or no consultation involved. Fewer than one-third of the pharmacies asked for her height and weight, which are needed to calculate BMI, and none asked about her waist circumference or her age. Only half of the pharmacies mentioned side-effects of the treatment, and even fewer advised on diet and exercise.....

Bookmark and Share