Despite a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning that a sibutramine-laced ‘Brazilian Slimming Coffee’ may pose a 'significant risk' to some US consumers, the product is still widely available online.
On November 8 2012 the FDA issued a public notification advising consumers not to purchase or use Best Share Green Coffee: Brazilian Slimming Coffee, a product marketed and sold for its supposed weight loss benefits on various websites and possibly some retail stores.
The agency said its laboratory analyses revealed that the coffee contained sibutramine, a controlled substance that was removed from the US market in October 2010 on safety grounds.
Life-threatening interactions with medication
As an oral anorexiant, sibutramine – which was sold by Abbott Laboratories under the Meridia brand name in capsule form until October 2010 – was used to treat obesity.
But via its association with serious cardiovascular events, Abbott worked with authorities to withdraw the product from the market in Australia, Canada, China, the EU and other jurisdictions.
“The product poses a threat to consumers because sibutramine is known to substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients, and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or stroke,” said the FDA.
“Consumers should stop using this product immediately and throw it away. Consumers who have experienced any negative side effects should consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible,” the agency added.
The coffee could also interact in life-threatening ways with other medications that a consumer may be taken, the FDA warned.
‘Scientifically tested, herbal concentrates’
BeverageDaily.com attempted to contact Best Share Green Coffee for comment – the US telephone number does not work, so we emailed the firm yesterday, but none was forthcoming today.
The Best Share website – where you can also buy the coffee – claims that its ‘doctor recommended’ coffee comprises: 90% instant coffee, 3% LingZhi, 3% tea polyphenols, 2% semen cassia, 2% foxnut.
“We did our homework to create this one-of-a-kind formula. It includes scientifically tested, herbal concentrates from China, Europe and South America,” the website says.
We could not reach two US websites selling the coffee – Buy-weightloss.com and PandaBuy.com for comment by telephone; another online vendor, www.dl4d.com, did not respond to email contact.
MHRA interest in UK coffee sales
One UK website selling the coffee, Stay Slim UK , did not respond to an email request for comment.
A spokesman for the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) told BeverageDaily.com: “Sibutramine has been withdrawn from the European market on safety concerns, but does turn up in quite a lot of slimming products illegally.
“So it [the online store selling the coffee] would be something for us to look into.”
Asked about the MHRA’s enforcement powers, the spokesman said: “In the first instance would send an urgent notice to the retailer, instructing them to remove the product from sale.
“We try to achieve voluntary compliance in most cases. If a deadline passes, and the product is not removed from sale, our enforcement arm would then take legal action and start an investigation.
This could result in up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine, the spokesman added.
The FDA had not replied to a comment request as we went to press.