Trendy “bee pollen” and “green coffee” weight loss supplements, some of which have been recalled in the US and elsewhere because of safety concerns, are just a few of the more than 200 products recently added to LegitScript’s searchable database. One of the bee pollen products — Classic Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen Capsules, marketed as a weight loss supplement — was voluntarily recalled by its manufacturer after it was found to contain undeclared sibutramine, a pharmaceutical ingredient that can substantially increase blood pressure in some patients. Pollen Allergy, also known as Tongqiao Biyan, was pulled off the market in Canada because it contained excessive levels of arsenic.
Another diet product found to contain hidden sibutramine and that was the subject of an FDA warning is Best Share Green Coffee: Brazilian Slimming Coffee, marketed at websites including edaydiet.com. In addition, the FDA is advising consumers against using the diet product Japan Hokkaido Slimming Weight Loss Pills, also found to contain undeclared sibutramine. Also, Majestic Slimming Capsules have been banned by the Australian government after they were found to contain both sibutramine and phenolphthalein, a potential carcinogen.
All of these products are classified as per se problematic, meaning they are either tainted with toxins or active pharmaceutical ingredients (like sibutramine, in the examples above); intrinsically imply equivalent safety or efficacy to that of an approved drug; or are used for psychoactive purposes.
On the synthetic drugs front, among the 105 psychoactive high products that are new to our database are Ladybug Attractant and Amped Ladybug Attractant. Known for their psychoactive effects, these products are marketed as “bath salt alternatives” or “glass cleaner,” and they likely contain synthetic cathinones or stimulants. The rise in popularity of Amped and the havoc the drug caused over the past year in Roanoke, Virginia, was chronicled in an article on Vice.com. In July, five men were arrested in connection with the distribution of that designer “ladybug” drug and others as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Operation Log Jam.
In addition to hiding behind names such as “glass cleaner” and “plant food,” using well-known brands and pop culture icons to attract customers is a common tactic in the designer drug industry, and we see two examples of that in new products: Incredible Hulk bath salts (or “herbal incense”) and an “herbal potpourri” called Life Is Good. The latter’s packaging sports an altered version of the logo of electronics giant LG (Life’s Good); the “3G” on the packet, likely referring to a weight of 3 grams, completes the image as the product seems to try to appeal to young, plugged-in consumers.
We’ll continue to report on noteworthy products in this space, and you can always check the database via our website to find out whether there are any known safety problems with a healthcare product or supplement.