“In the past three months, we have arrested four people and conducted two investigations,” said spokesman Lex Benden. “In the region of The Hague it was about the trade of Iomax via Facebook. Three suspects were arrested in that investigation and we know that a user ended up in hospital because of the pills.”
The NVMA suspects that the traders in The Hague made the pills themselves. “It had amphetamine in it. When you take those pills, you’re just doing drugs hard,” Benden explains. “The arrest in Rotterdam concerns a person who sold Iomax and steroids under the counter in his sports supplement store. It concerned a total of 300 Iomax pills.”
Today it was announced that a woman aged between 45 and 50 was in hospital in October 2022 with a cerebral hemorrhage after taking Iomax. In March 2021, a Dutch woman in her 30s also ended up in hospital with the same complaints.
In the past year, the National Poison Information Center received eight reports of people with heart problems. Side effects center Lareb received three calls. “The two hemorrhages that are in the news and a report with somewhat vague complaints,” says director Agnes Kant of Lareb.
‘Loose weight on the couch’
“We do not visit the people who make reports, but try to get as much information as possible through the reporter and doctors. The pills were sent to the RIVM and tests showed that the pills contained amphetamine.”
Both the NVWA and Lareb point out the dangers of products such as Iomax. “If you buy pills via social media or a rancid site, you don’t know whether they contain a substance that works,” Benden of the NVWA explains. “And if you do lose weight, there is a good chance that it contains an illegal substance. Losing weight through a pill while sitting on the couch is not possible. You play with your health. All kinds of slimming pills have killed people.”
In addition to Iomax, the NVWA also recently warned against slimming teas such as Emtea, Irem Natural and Niva detox and Sulami pills. Benden: “These products contained prohibited slimming and water tablets.”
Kant thinks it’s good that the NVWA is on top of the illegal trade and praises the people who report the side effects of illegal substances. “That threshold is big. People often don’t know that they can also call us about the use of illegal substances. We treat everything confidentially.”
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