NHS England has urged Instagram to cease customers promoting a “harmful” unlicensed weight-gain drug.
Apetamin is being bought and promoted on Instagram and different websites as a option to obtain an hour-glass determine within the mould of celebrities like Kim Kardashian.
Nonetheless, senior well being leaders say the urge for food stimulant may trigger “severe hurt”.
One of many drug’s substances is a prescription-only antihistamine linked to unwanted effects reminiscent of dizziness, tremors, nausea, blurred visions and liver toxicity.
“We’re writing concerning the unlicensed and harmful drug Apetamin, which is promoted in your platform and will lead to severe hurt to any particular person who takes it,” says the letter to Instagram chief Adam Mosseri.
“This substance is consumed as a complement, to foster a selected physique picture and form, deemed to be fascinating by some high-profile influencers, and predominately focused at youthful girls and women.”
The letter is signed by NHS England medical director Professor Stephen Powis, nationwide psychological well being director Claire Murdoch, and Kitty Wallace of the Physique Dysmorphic Dysfunction Basis.
They are saying they’re involved in regards to the drug’s “bodily and psychological well being impacts” and urge Instagram “to show an obligation of care… and clamp down now on this harmful content material”.
Apetamin is unauthorised within the UK and shouldn’t be bought, provided or marketed, the letter provides.
The drug’s illegal availability was highlighted in a BBC Three documentary final month and Instagram mentioned it had eliminated the accounts highlighted.
It harassed that purchasing and promoting non-medical or pharmaceuticals was “strictly in opposition to our insurance policies”.
Nonetheless, the letter claims “dozens of profiles” promoting Apetamin are nonetheless on-line and that when it flagged them up, a customer support message claimed they didn’t break the principles.
The NHS chiefs ask for an “pressing replace” on what Instagram is doing to close down accounts or content material that promote the drug.
Additionally they search assurances that any “shortcomings” in its group tips that permit such content material to seem will probably be tightened.
A spokesman from the Physique Dysmorphic Dysfunction Basis mentioned they have been changing into overwhelmed by folks in search of assist for physique dysmorphic dysfunction (BDD).
“Though social media will not be the reason for BDD, it has an enormous function to play in exacerbating the signs,” the spokesman mentioned.