Illegal fat burning pill to be declared as poisonous

A highly toxic diet pill has been illegally sold in the UK with experts claiming it is the ‘deadliest chemical you’ve ever heard of’.

DNP, otherwise known as 2.4 Dinitrophenol, has been found to have killed at least 33 people in the UK and is set to be added to a list of regulated poisons by the government, following a campaign set up by families of those who have died.

woman putting her hand on her lips

From 1st October 2023, the Home Office have announced DNP will be regulated under the Poisons Act 1972 – meaning anyone who wants to purchase it will need a licence to do so via a registered pharmacist.

The chemical has been disguised in diet pills as a fat-burning substance. People who have previously taken the pill experienced a metabolism boost, leading to weight loss, but taking even a few tablets can be fatal.

DNP heats the body from the inside energy being stored as fat – the increase in temperature can cause coma, kidney failure or seizures. There is no known antidote.

One of the campaigners who helped ban people from aimlessly buying the drug online was Doug Shipsey, whose 21-year-old daughter Bethany died in 2017 after she purchased the pill from a website in Ukraine.

Mr Shipsey told ITV News: ‘It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. You know, we want to go for an outright ban because, during the years since we lost Beth, we just can’t find any legitimate industrial uses, which is why the government has been saying for all these years that it’s still legal to sell DNP.’

Bethany’s father has been invited to the Home Office on Monday to meet with Security Minister Tom Tugendhat. He has claimed that DNP has previously been classified as a poison but fell off the Poisons Register in the 1990s when changes were made to the regulations.

topless woman with black panty

The timeframe for banning this drug from being bought online has also come during a period where people feel pressured into losing weight. According to research undertaken by David Lloyd Clubs in 2022, a leading gym and fitness organisation, 21% of Brits attempt to lose weight over January, with 15% feeling more pressure to do so now than any other time of the year.

As well as Mr Shipsey taking a stand, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) have called for an outright ban on the drug. The organisation wrote to the Home Secretary in 2019 calling on the government to make DNP sales illegal.

Thorrun Goviind, RPS English Board Chair, said: ‘It’s killing people and that’s why we’re so concerned about it. So we’re really pleased that it’s been put on the poisons register but we want to see it banned completely.

‘There is no reason that this is needed for human or animal use so we want to make sure that people can’t access it and those that are selling this and making money out of vulnerable people are held to account for it.’

Photo by danilo.alvesd and Huha Inc.


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