Warning over thousands of fake diet pills and unlicensed medicines seized in Portsmouth

Some of the unlicensed medicine seized by the MHRA in Portsmouth since 2015
Some of the unlicensed medicine seized by the MHRA in Portsmouth since 2015
Paul Dodd, station manager of Radio Haslar Picture: David George

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DANGEROUS diet pills and illicit medicines have been seized in a major crackdown.

Around £50,000 of diet pills have been found by police in Portsmouth and Waterlooville since last year.

Chris Mardlin from Eastney who ended up ill after using unlicensed diet pills

Chris Mardlin from Eastney who ended up ill after using unlicensed diet pills

And the government’s medicines regulator forced an eBay account selling unlicensed medicines to shut down in May after the supply was tracked to the city.

Thousands of pills were seized in the operation linked to the online auction account, including fake erectile dysfunction medicines.

Lynda Scammell, from Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, which licenses medicines, said: ‘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.’

It comes less than a year after West Sussex coroner Penny Schofield warned of the dangers of diet pills after a 25-year-old woman died.

Rachael Cook, of Worthing, died in May last year after taking banned Dinitrophenol bought from a Chinese website.

The drug has been likened to rat poison.

Chris Mardlin 28, was taking diet pills bought from eBay when he weighed 32st.

Now weighing 17st after starting a strict regime of eating healthily and taking exercise, he is warning about the dangers of buying online.

Speaking to The News, he said: ‘You could be buying anything.

‘Some of the things I’ve bought in the past were unsealed, you just pop off the cap on the plastic tubs.

‘They could be putting anything in them.

‘The tablets you could pull apart and you don’t know what’s in the powder.’

Chris, of Sanderling Road, Milton, previously spoke to The News after ditching pills.

He said when he was searching for pills to buy he even saw steroids advertised online, but did not buy them.

Chris added: ‘The end product (of using diet pills) isn’t going to last a long time.’

He was spending up to £80 a month on the tablets.

Dodgy diet pills from China and India are first sent to areas in the UK and then sent on to paying UK customers, the MHRA said.

The agency seized 425,663 fake or unlicensed slimming pills between 2013 and 2014.

Since 2015, 544,689 were seized and 7,000 websites shut.

Ms Scammell, MHRA senior policy manager, added: ‘Sadly the situation in Portsmouth is not unique.’