Instagram is beneath stress from senior NHS officers to clamp down on influencers utilizing the social media platform to advertise and promote a “harmful” and unlicensed drug.
Senior NHS officers in England have written to the top of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, urging the corporate to close down any accounts and content material that promotes or makes an attempt to promote Apetamin.
A BBC investigation mentioned that Apetamin was being marketed by social media influencers as a solution to get an excessive hour-glass, curvy determine, however it could trigger side-effects together with fatigue, jaundice and liver failure.
The letter, from NHS England’s nationwide psychological well being director, Claire Murdoch, and nationwide medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, alongside Kitty Wallace of the Physique Dysmorphic Dysfunction Basis, mentioned the drug might end in “critical hurt” to anybody who takes it.
Based on the PA Information Company, they mentioned: “We’re writing concerning the unlicensed and harmful drug Apetamin, which is promoted in your platform and will end in critical hurt to any particular person who takes it.
“This substance is consumed as a complement, to foster a particular physique picture and form, deemed to be fascinating by some high-profile influencers, and predominately focused at youthful girls and ladies.
“On behalf of NHS sufferers, workers and other people experiencing physique dysmorphic dysfunction and different psychological well being circumstances, in addition to their households, we’re involved about each the bodily and psychological well being impacts of the promotion of this drug and strongly urge you to exhibit an obligation of care on your prospects, and clamp down now on this harmful content material.”
It added: “Sadly, many accounts are nonetheless lively, and when such exercise was reported – according to Instagram recommendation – no motion was taken, with a customer support response out of your platform claiming that the business sale of Apetamin via Instagram accounts didn’t breach your group tips.”
The NHS leaders are asking for an pressing replace on what motion Instagram is taking to close down such accounts and ensure that any content material promoting or selling Apetamin can be eliminated.
Additionally they requested the social media platform to verify what number of accounts and posts had been eliminated in relation to Apetamin and what steps are presently being taken to guard customers from content material “doubtless, or with the potential to, set off or exacerbate physique dysmorphic dysfunction, consuming issues and different circumstances”.
A spokesman from the Physique Dysmorphic Dysfunction Basis mentioned: “As a small charity we have gotten more and more overwhelmed by the numbers of individuals reaching out to us for extra assist with the debilitating situation physique dysmorphic dysfunction (BDD).
“Though social media just isn’t the reason for BDD, it has an enormous position to play in exacerbating the signs.
“We urge firms, comparable to Instagram, to take the wellbeing of their susceptible customers severely.
“The promotion of Apetamin on social media will be very damaging when it comes to bodily and psychological well being, and due to this fact shouldn’t go unchallenged.”