Posts promoting unregistered weight loss pills share altered Myanmar FDA certificate

  • Published on June 21, 2024 at 09:12
  • 3 min read
  • By AFP Thailand
Myanmar's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved a purported weight-loss tablet that can help users lose weight without dieting or exercise, contrary to false posts that shared a digitally altered health certification for a different product to promote the diet pill. A health expert told AFP the best approach to losing weight is maintaining a balanced diet and exercise.

"It has never been easier to lose weight with Detox Slim effervescent tablets," read a Burmese language Facebook post shared on May 23, 2024.

"It can help you lose 10 kg in a short period of time just by taking two tablets a day," the post continued, adding that there was no need to exercise or diet to lose weight.

An accompanying video, which has racked up more than 2.3 million times, featured a woman who claimed the product is "made in Korea and has been approved by the FDA".

The post also included a link to a webpage advertising the product, which featured a purported certificate from the Myanmar FDA.

Screenshot of the false post on Facebook, captured on June 16, 2024

The same product was shared alongside similar claims in Burmese-language Facebook posts here and here, as well as sold online in the Philippines here and here.

However, the claim that the pill can help lose weight without changing diet or exercise is baseless, and the FDA certification for the product has also been fabricated.

Fabricated FDA certificate

AFP did not find any trace of the purported product certificate on the official Myanmar FDA website.

A combination of reverse image and keyword searches found elements of the certificate shared alongside the Detox Slim tablets corresponds to a genuine certificate issued to Amayhtwar, a peanut cooking oil company (archived link).

The registration number on the certificate for AZ Care, the company that makes the Detox Slim tablets, matches the one for the peanut oil company on its certification.

However, the business' name and address have been replaced on the fabricated certificate using irregularly sized font.

Below is a screenshot comparison of Detox Slim's altered FDA certification (left) and the authentic one for Amayhtwar peanut oil (right), with corresponding elements highlighted by AFP:

Screenshot comparison of Detox Slim's altered FDA certification (left) and the authentic one for Amayhtwar peanut oil (right), with corresponding elements highlighted by AFP

The altered certificate for Detox Slim also contains multiple spelling errors.

The dates of issue and expiry on the false certificate also contain discrepancies between the Burmese and English-language versions.

The Burmese year of issue is 2016, while in English it states it was issued in 2022. Meanwhile, the expiration date is given as 2018 in Burmese and 2026 in English.

Officials at the Philippines Food and Drug Administration also issued a warning against the unregistered supplement as its safety and quality were not assured (archived link).

Inconclusive research

Dr Jessada Denduanboripant, a professor at Chulalongkorn University’s Department of Biology, told AFP on June 17, 2024 that the active ingredient of Detox Slim is a substance called L-Carnitine, commonly found in unregistered commercial weight-loss pills (archived links here and here).

According to the United States National Institutes of Health, researchers have proposed using L-Carnitine supplements to promote weight loss because it transports fatty acids into cells and helps with fatty acid oxidation (archived link).

However, trials of L-Carnitine's weight-reducing properties have been inconclusive.

Jessada warned against using unapproved supplements as the actual contents cannot be confirmed and may include substances that pose a health risk.

The best approach towards weight loss is maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise, Jessada said.

AFP has repeatedly debunked false claims about unproven supplements here and here.

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