(Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

The government has accepted its medicine advisory body’s recommendation that the diet pill 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) be classified as a regulated poison.

There have been growing concerns over deaths related to the diet pill with healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, being called on to play their part in raising awareness and preventing DNP-related harm.

In a letter to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the Home Office wrote that it will “consult this year on possible amendments to the Poisons Act 1972” aiming to add DNP to the list of regulated poisons.

“This would mean that DNP could only be sold legitimately to a member of the public by a registered pharmacist, and then only to someone with a licence issued by the Home Office.”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has welcomed the move of the Home Office on adding DNP to the list of regulated poisons.

RPS chief scientist Gino Martini said: “We welcome the Government’s recognition of the threat of inappropriate supply via online market places and hope that given their acceptance of the ACMD’s recommendations, they take immediate steps to delist DNP products rather than wait for legislative change.

“DNP is an industrial chemical, unfit for human consumption and individuals who sell it as a ‘weight loss aid’ have already caused far too many deaths, harm and heartache for families across the country. Their only aim is to exploit and profit from people with weight loss issues.

“We will respond to this consultation and hope to see DNP included as a poison under the 1972 Act as quickly as possible to help prevent further harm to vulnerable individuals.”

DNP is an industrial chemical unfit for human consumption which is marketed illegally online to often vulnerable people to promote extreme weight loss. There have been at least 21 deaths related to DNP since 2013.

It is a yellow powder usually made into tablet or capsule form before being sold via websites, social media accounts, and via people at the gym.

The Home Office has said that it has worked with departments across government to tackle the use of DNP.

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