Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Streets Of London: Fat-Free, Prescription Free

Streets of London from Malcolm Aitken in London

Fat-Free, Prescription Free

Britain has been getting fatter for years, statistically. The decision to prescribe the essentially safe and effective ‘fat-busting’ drug Xenical on the NHS last year, therefore, was welcome news, particularly for obese Brits. Now the UK health authorities have a new problem to deal with: the proliferation of internet sites selling Xenical (orlistat) expensively, but with very few questions asked.

This is very problematic because Xenical is for quite big people or those with correlated conditions such as hypertension or type 2 diabetes. It shouldn’t be taken casually as a slimming pill nor prescribed for children. Moreover, it’s designed to be taken in combination with a diet and exercise-based weight loss programme, not alone. You should lose 2.5 Kilos before and more in tandem with a course of Xenical. Perhaps most importantly the drug’s normally only used for a couple of years.

Compared with the plethora of appetite suppressing pills on the market here, Xenical’s something altogether different. It’s an inhibitor of the pancreatic enzyme lipases, which converts ingested fats into digestible components. With Xenical, about 30 percent of the fat a person ingests isn’t broken down. The excess is excreted. This means users spend more time in the bathroom; sometimes they’re in a real hurry to get there. However this for many people is a price worth paying for considerably better health prospects and improved self-esteem. Obesity is associated with many health problems and here, as throughout the western world, is regarded as a grave social liability. And, tackling the prevalence of potbellies conveniently attributed by their owners to middle-agish type spread rather than exercise-free lifestyles, will pay huge dividends for an already terribly overstretched National Health System. Obesity’s responsible for 30 000 deaths in the UK and costs the NHS about half a Billion pounds annually (more than $NZ1.5 Billion). Patient satisfaction, public health and finance goals are in harmony.

However, when potential customers simply fill in a form, there’s no physical examination and no follow through, the potential for Xenical misuse is immense. Although Xenical’s undoubtedly brought relief and happiness to many lives, the specificity of the government’s drug advisory body, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence’s Xenical prescription guidelines, reflects the reality that the long term effects of taking this severe treatment aren’t yet known. Users should also take vitamin supplements and be aware the effects of contraceptive pills may diminish.

The Medicine Control Agency (MCA), which is charged with doing as its name suggests, is constrained by laws predating the Internet. These must be amended if it’s to win this battle. For one, robust laws should stipulate that prescription only follows a face-to-face consultation, preventing web vendors from undertaking on-line consultations and prescriptions following the word not the spirit of the law. And, the recently restructured MCA enforcement team will hopefully become better at tracking vendors who sell Xenical now through web site sub domains that make them tricky to pin down.

Xenical might be expensive, but if an obese or just overweight person doesn’t want to return to their old ‘self’ after a period of relative health and normality the temptation to buy Xenical without a doctor peering over their shoulder must be a big temptation. While this very helpful drug’s long-term effects are gauged Internet charlatans must be reined in.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news