The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has written to Sajid Javid, the home secretary, requesting an immediate ban on the diet drug 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP).
In a letter sent to the Home Office on 27 March 2019, Ash Soni, president of the RPS, and Gino Martini, chief scientist at the RPS, said that there have been 21 deaths related to DNP since 2013, with more non-fatal cases that have caused serious harm.
Soni and Martini wrote that there is a “national imperative for government to act in the interests of public safety”.
They added that the drug is a highly toxic substance and typically “marketed at often vulnerable people to promote extreme weight loss”.
While requesting a total ban on the sale of the drug, and a commitment to prosecute those who sell it, the letter says said that pharmacists will continue to help people with safe ways to maintain a healthy weight.
In February 2019, Soni spoke to BBC1’s Victoria Derbyshire programme about the dangers of the drug.
“This is explosive. This is a fertiliser. There is no indication for this for human health,” Soni said.
“You think it’s going to help you to lose weight and feel better. Actually, it’s going to kill you. That is a strong message that we need to get across.”