Complementary medicine weight loss products complaints submitted to the TGA in 2018-2019. Follow-up July 2020

This research was conducted by a team of Monash University BSc students on a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placement, supervised by Assoc Prof Ken Harvey.

Monash University WIL Medreach Team, July 2020

The team reviewed the following complaints submitted on:

The students found that all products complained about in 2018-2019 continue to be promoted today (29/07/2020). Screenshots of current advertisements are appended.

They also reviewed the following literature and found no evidence to support the claims made for ingredients used in complementary medicine weight loss products.

  • Pittler MH, Ernst E. Dietary supplements for body-weight reduction: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79(4):529-536. doi:10.1093/ajcn/79.4.529
  • Saper RB, Eisenberg DM, Phillips RS. Common dietary supplements for weight loss. Am Fam Physician. 2004;70(9):1731-1738.
  • Harvey KJ, Korczak VS, Marron LJ, Newgreen DB. Commercialism, choice and consumer protection: regulation of complementary medicines in Australia. Med J Aust. 2008;188(1):21-25.
  • Lobb A. Science of weight loss supplements: compromised by conflicts of interest?. World J Gastroenterol. 2010;16(38):4880-4882. doi:10.3748/wjg.v16.i38.4880
  • Mullin GE. Supplements for weight loss: hype or help for obesity? Part III. Nutr Clin Pract. 2015;30(3):446-449. doi:10.1177/0884533615578918
  • Maunder A, Bessell E, Lauche R, Adams J, Sainsbury A, Fuller NR. Effectiveness of herbal medicines for weight loss: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2020;22(6):891-903. doi:10.1111/dom.13973

They highlighted 27 permissible indications that they believed facilitated weight loss claims despite the lack evidence to support them. These are listed here.

They submitted a paper on their research for consideration of publication.

Finally, the advertisements appended are a sample of complementary medicine weight loss products complained about in 2019-2019 that students found were still being promoted today.

In addition, new weight loss listed products have been added to the ARTG. These include FatBlaster Platinum Metabolism which contains the same SLENDACOR™ ingredients of the cancelled FatBlaster Clinical with minor additions.

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About Dr Ken Harvey

Public Health Physician, Medical activitist
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