Harvey’s crusade backfires as pill ‘sold out’
ACTIVIST and academic Dr Ken Harvey’s latest crusade against a weight loss product has had an unexpected result – the product has become so popular it sold out nationwide in just two days.
Marketers of the Australian weight loss product, undoit, boast it can reverse the waistline-increasing effects of junk food with a pill, and have told MO the publicity brought by the La Trobe public health lecturer’s latest complaint lodged with the TGA had led to “thousands” of its products being sold.
“We just sold out on the weekend, thanks to Ken,” undoit founder and marketing director Michael Romm told MO last week.
“[Customers] read the article and went on the website and into the chemist and bought it all up. I don’t know whether to send [Dr Harvey] a bottle of whiskey.”
He said he would cooperate with any TGA review and all the company’s claims were clinically proven.
Dr Harvey demanded the TGA do a post-marketing product review, branding undoit a “dangerous product” that encourages people to take more than 20 times the recommended maximum amount of Cassia senna, causing diarrhoea, abdominal pain, cramping, loss of fluids and hypokalaemia.
He said undoit’s claims that “a tub of ice-cream may need 2 pills”, “a big sugary/fatty dessert will need 3 pills” and “a Big Mac and fries will need 5 pills” undermined the “public health message that reducing the health impact of obesity requires fundamental lifestyle change”.
A TGA spokesperson said Dr Harvey’s complaint would go before its Complaints Resolution Panel and the TGA would investigate the product separately.
They added undoit’s inclusion on the Therapeutic Goods Register, in December, was for safety and not efficacy.