Japan's unhealthy use of “herbal” weight loss pills
The Japanese health minister, Chikara Sakaguchi, has called for tighter regulations on the Chinese industries for pharmaceuticals and herbal remedies after a recent spate of deaths.
The Japanese media have reported that in the past two years, four deaths and 148 cases of thyroid and liver problems have been linked with the consumption of Chinese “herbal” weight loss pills.
The ministry is concerned that the grey area between the regulatory bodies of pharmaceuticals and foods has allowed certain products to go unapproved, allowing potentially lethal products to be come available on the market.
A public warning has also been issued about the possible risk of liver damage from the Chinese imports Jieanfeijiaonanf and Xiazhisa. Government inspection of other “herbal” weight loss products has revealed traces of fenfluramine, a thyrotropic hormone with appetite suppressant properties. The drug has been withdrawn in the United Kingdom, United States, and China after reports of