Coronation Street’s Bethany Platt collapses after taking Unlicensed Diet Pills

diet pillsIt seems that barely a week passes by without another story in the press about the dangers of diet pills. In most cases, there has been a self-conscious teenager, probably of a perfectly normal BMI, buying dodgy diet pills from the internet.

The potentially fatal repercussions of purchasing such toxic slimming tablets are due to feature on one of the nation’s favorite soaps – Coronation Street. This month will see 16-year-old Bethany Platt collapse in the gym after becoming hooked on diet pills.

Viewers of the soap have seen the schoolgirl cruelly bullied for her weight by other girls at school. After finding the gym to be unsuccessful in her quest to lose weight, Bethany turns to the internet for help, obtaining some rather questionable weight loss tablets.

It seems obvious the soap is eager to bring the high risks of extreme dieting and dangerous unlicensed weight loss pills into the spotlight. Coronation Street producer Kate Oates has previously spoken out about what the future holds for Sarah Platt’s young daughter.

She said: “Because of the bullying, Bethany is a teenage girl feeling out of control of her life, which is something a lot of people can relate to. But Bethany’s way of managing that is to take diet pills and over exercise.”

“This is going to be a slow-burn storyline that we’re going to play quite gently over a fair period of time. We want to play it truthfully because it’s something that people are going through in real life.”

This comes as a campaign was launched this week targeting young adults, warning them of the grave dangers of parting with their money in exchange for dodgy diet pills off the internet. Not every ‘pharmacy’ on the internet is even a legitimate fully registered pharmacy like Medical Specialists®, and the fact remains that over half the medical products bought online are fake or unlicensed.

The FakeMeds campaign will aim to educate young adults about the safest way to buy medicines and medical devices, encourage young adults not to buy from unsafe and unregistered online sources and raise awareness of some of the risks of buying fake medicines and medical devices.

Women aged 18-30 are the age group most likely to buy such ‘quick fix’ diet pills online, in a last ditch attempt to slim down for their summer holiday beach body.

Unfortunately, many unsuspecting customers will likely discover that after providing their bank details, they will receive bottled tablets loaded with toxic or ineffective, useless ingredients. It gets worse, severe side effects from these pills can include heart attacks, strokes – and in more extreme cases, death.

In 2015 the MHRA managed to seize in excess of 240,000 doses of unlicensed slimming pills, shutting down more than 2,000 unauthorised online retailers. This year the MHRA conducted research that demonstrated despite the fact most shoppers think they are “internet-savvy”, 79% of the public are oblivious to the huge health problem of fake medical products.

MHRA Senior Policy Manager Lynda Scammell said: “The internet offers access to a vast number of websites offering products marketed as “slimming” or “diet” pills. Many make attractive claims and offer “quick-fix” solutions, but the only pounds you will lose will be from your bank balance.

“Many of these pills will not be licensed medicines. That means their contents are unknown and untested. Chances are they simply will not work, but they may contain dangerous ingredients. The consequences for your health can be devastating.

“The safest way to lose weight is to eat well and exercise. If you have serious concerns about your weight, you should consult your GP or another healthcare professional.

“Know what you’re buying – if you don’t, your weight could be the least of your worries!”

Visit www.gov.uk/fakemeds for tips on buying medicines safely online and how to avoid unscrupulous sites.

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