A popular weight loss tablet will be banned from sale after the medicines regulator determined its creators had provided no evidence it could lead to weight loss.
On Monday, the Therapeutic Goods Administration cancelled complementary medicine FatBlaster Max from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, after its sponsor, Cat Media, registered the medicine with no mention of weight loss properties.
The Fatblaster Max tablets have been cancelled from the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s complementary medicines register.Credit:Pharmacare
Being listed on the register allows complementary medicines to be sold and advertised in Australia. To be listed, the medicine’s sponsor must provide details of its therapeutic uses.
“The TGA considers that the name ‘FatBlaster’, as used on the label for FatBlaster Max and on a website where Cat Media Pty Ltd advertised that medicine, would be understood by consumers to represent that the medicine causes loss of body fat and therefore weight loss,” the regulator said in a statement.
“When the medicine was listed on [the register], however, Cat Media Pty Ltd had not included weight loss or body fat loss in the list of indications for the medicine. Thus the TGA is unable to ensure that the medicine is effective for this advertised purpose.”
Cat Media has applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision.
FatBlaster Max tablets contain about 80mg of caffeine, the same amount as one cup of instant coffee. The box directs that one tablet is to be taken every three hours, with a maximum of five tablets each day.
The tablets are sold at supermarkets, including Coles and Woolworths, and pharmacies.
Generally, when a medicine is cancelled by the TGA available stock may continue to be sold by retail premises, provided the seller is not the sponsor or a wholesaler, although further manufacture or importing of the product must cease.
By Tuesday afternoon, the products had been removed from the Priceline website.
In a statement, FatBlaster said it was “disappointed” with the cancellation decision and was “evaluating options for next steps”.
“FatBlaster products have been used by thousands of people as part of a holistic approach to health and wellness and the listing cancellation does not impact the wider FatBlaster range,” it said.
The decision comes after Cat Media incurred several fines for illegally advertising FatBlaster Max and similar products before they had been registered.
In October 2020, the company was fined $13,320 after promoting FatBlaster Original as a “diet supplement” when the product was not registered.
Last month, Cat Media was again fined $39,960 for unlawfully advertising three of its other products that were at that time not yet entered on the register, including FatBlaster Max, on the Chinese language section of its website.
Accredited practicing dietitian and clinical senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle Dr Trent Watson said it was “entirely appropriate the TGA is taking action against a product like this”, noting pills containing high levels of caffeine and B group vitamins would not lead to fat loss.
“These things give you energy, but for most people these tablets will be superfluous to their needs; it’s like turning the sprinkler on when it’s raining,” he said.
“It is not going to contribute to fat loss, that occurs with better diet and increased exercise.”
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