Source: The Irish Independent
Irish chemists are selling a new 'over the counter' diet pill to healthy thin young girls -- despite reassurance by the drug's manufacturers that staff will only sell the drug to people who suffer from obesity.
An investigation carried out by The Sunday Independent has found that every chemist approached by the newspaper was happy to sell the 'miracle' new weight loss pill Alli to a size-eight woman.
This is despite the fact that the drugs makers GlaxoSmithKline have given reassurances that all pharmacists will be trained to calculate a person's Body Mass Index (BMI) -- which must be over 28) -- before selling the pill.
The shocking findings have left eating disorder support groups "deeply concerned" that the drug will now be open to widespread misuse.
At eight and a half stone, this reporter successfully purchased the tablets despite being well under the recommended 12 stone 5 pounds needed to meet the manufacturer's recommended guidelines.
In a straw poll of chemists in Dublin and Kildare, every one approached was willing to sell the drug.
Although the drug's makers have said chemists had been trained to weigh customers and ask them suitable "fielding" questions on their motivation for taking the drug -- The Sunday Independent uncovered an incredibly lax attitude towards its sale.
When asked for a packet of the tablets, a staff member at one high-profile chemist chain in Dublin's city centre area said: "You do know this is only for obese people?" before shaking her head, smiling, and ringing the product through the till.
While another chemist worker simply asked if it was "any good?" before taking it to the cash register.
A number of staff were also prepared to sell the diet pill even when the product was purchased alongside a packet of laxatives -- a substance well-known for its abuse among the dieting community.
One 22-year-old student who managed to purchase the tablets despite being a size eight described how she will be using the drug to help her with her bikini-diet.
"I've heard loads about the pill in glossy magazines and I'm so happy it's finally out. If it actually does what it promises to do and matches every two pounds I lose with another pound then I'll be thrilled," she enthused.
When contacted, a spokesperson for GlaxoSmithKline said they were "very surprised" to hear chemists were selling the drug to healthy young women.
"We have been rolling out a training programme for the past three months" he said. "The key thing we wanted to get across is that they cannot sell it to people with a BMI lower than 28. There is absolutely no wriggle room in that."
Hailed as a new wonder drug, Alli went on sale in Ireland amidst much hype last week.
It works by flushing out up to 25 per cent of the fat from all food consumed and forcing the undigested fat to pass straight through the body, creating what is described as "an urgent need to go to the bathroom".
Clinical trials show that Alli, when used in conjunction with a reduced calorie, lower-fat diet, can help people lose 50 per cent more weight than by dieting alone.
Users of the drug can lose 3lbs a week, according to its manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, which equates to more than three stone over four months.
The recommended dose of Alli is one 60mg capsule three times a day with meals containing the recommended amount of fat (15 grams).
Speaking about the new drug, a spokesperson for Bodywhys said: "A high proportion of those affected by eating disorders misuse other medications such as laxatives and diuretics in an attempt to attain or maintain a low body weight. Our concern would be around ensuring that this new medication does not become a new mechanism for that purpose."
- NIAMH HORAN
Hat-Tip - Truthman
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