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November 1, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

State FDA bans all sales of diet drug

SOME drugstores in the city have stopped selling diet drugs containing sibutramine, an appetite suppressant, after the State Food and Drug Administration banned use of drugs that contain the chemical.

The FDA issued a notice on its official website on Saturday ordering the cessation of production, sale and use of sibutramine products. Producers have been ordered to recall and destroy drugs with sibutramine that have already been sold.

The notice said the FDA made the decision based on the latest evaluation of sibutramine by international medical experts.

Long-term monitoring and evaluation have proved that sibutramine increases the risks of developing serious -cardiovascular diseases.

Taiji Group, a Chongqing-based pharmaceutical company, has taken the step of recalling Qumei, the most popular domestically made diet drug containing sibutramine.

In a statement the company said it started the recall independently, instead of being asked to by the FDA. People who have already bought the product will be refunded.

Reductil, the world's most popular diet product, made by Abbott Labs, is banned in the United States, Canada and some European countries because it contains sibutramine.

In addition to Qumei, the Shanghai Huashi Pharmacy has taken all diet drugs contain sibutramine off its shelf after learning of the notice.

An official from the pharmacy told Shanghai Daily that some customers who purchased Qumei diet pills later complained to them about developing glandular disorders.

She said the pharmacy is now recommending that customers buy another diet drug that is made of aloes, which is more expensive but is said to be healthier.

But Qumei, which used to be endorsed by Chinese movie star Gong Li, is still a hot item on e-commerce platforms, such as, and consumers can still buy other diet drugs containing sibutramine in some drugstores.

Private Wardrobe, an -online shop on which has been selling Qumei for at least five years, has sold thousands of packets of Qumei in the past 30 days and the records showed some customers were still purchasing the pills yesterday.

A staff member with the website, who refused to be named, told Shanghai Daily that they would not stop selling the pills until all the stock had been sold.

Du Bing, an official with the local FDA, said they will supervise the market when the state FDA orders producers to recall diet drugs with the banned ingredient. The diet drugs won't disappear overnight and will be withdrawn gradually, Du said.

The local FDA will also cooperate with the industrial and commercial administration to regulate drug sales over the Internet. Since it is a grey area for drug sale online, it needs more efforts by officials, Du added.


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