RPS calls for complete ban of online diet drugs

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for a complete ban on sales of the so-called ‘diet drug’ 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) in response to a government consultation.

A Home Office consultation on Amendments to the Poisons Act 1972, which closed on 10 March 2022, proposed that DNP be added to the UK list of regulated poisons. In response, the Company said that while it welcomes this proposal, it “don’t go far enoughand we believe that DNP should be completely banned and should not be provided under any circumstances.”

DNP is used to make explosives and pesticides, but it’s also marketed online in pill form as a weight loss aid – even though it’s illegal to sell the compound as a food or medical product.

Since 2007, 32 people have died after taking the drug in an attempt to lose weight.

Noting that “there is no legitimate human or animal use of DNP,” the RPS said it was “concerned that DNP is still in circulation and often targeted at image-conscious young people who might want to try quick fixes to improve their body image, especially in the aftermath of lockdown.”

The Society added that it would “urge the government to immediately ban DNP to reduce the risk of harm, commit to prosecuting those who seek to profit from it, and encourage other countries to do the same.”

This latest consultation response is the latest in a series of calls from the Society to ban the drug. In March 2019, Ash Soni and Gino Martini – at the time RPS Chairman and Chief Scientist respectively – wrote to then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for an immediate ban on DNP.

Prior to this letter, in July 2018, the Society’s Science and Research Council had requested that sales of the drug be restricted, with RPS Deputy Chief Scientist Claire Thompson stating that “we would like to see restrictions put in place. place to prevent the sale of DNP. , especially in forms that look like drugs or food supplements”.