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MP slams lack of action over deadly diet pill ban
11:30am Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
A SOUTHAMPTON MP has slammed health chiefs for dragging their heels on the dangers of deadly diet pills laced with industrial chemicals.
Caroline Nokes spoke out after raising – for the second time in six months – the tragic deaths of young people who took pills containing Dinitrophenol (DNP).
The pills achieved notoriety after Sarah Houston, a 23-year-old Leeds University student who suffered from bulimia, was found dead in her bedroom last year.
In April, the Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Body Image, intervened in the Commons to urge David Cameron to stop DNP being sold.
Yesterday Ms Nokes raised the issue again, telling the Prime Minister: “Industrial chemicals, herbicides and plant food are used in a variety of diet pills that are banned for human use, but are widely advertised on the Internet for such use.”
In reply, Mr Cameron said he would “look carefully” at whether the law, or regulations, should be tightened up to protect people.
And he agreed: “There have been some extremely serious cases of young people in particular suffering from such medications that can be ordered on the Internet.”
But, speaking afterwards, Ms Nokes revealed that nothing had happened since she first raised the issue in April, beyond acknowledgement of her letters.
And she vowed to follow up her question by writing to the Prime Minister, to ensure action followed.
Ms Nokes said: “I regard this as a really important issue, which I first raised with the Prime Minister six months ago.
“Since then, it appears to have been passed around Government departments, with very little in the way of positive action.
“The stark reality is that, in an effort to achieve dramatic weight loss, young people are dying – and DNP is still being marketed, imported, and discussed on student forums and websites.
“The Government has to step up to the mark before even more people die.”
Earlier this year, it was reported that 62 people had died after taking DNP, which can lead to rapid respiration, irregular heart-beat, coma and death.
Almost one year ago, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued a warning about people taking DNP in either tablet or powder form.
But Ms Nokes criticised leaving the issue in the hands of the FSA, after the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) did not get involved.
And she said: “I am utterly convinced it is no more a food stuff than a medicine.”
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