EDA welcomes potential ban of compounded weight loss drugs Media Release

The Eating Disorder Alliance (EDA) has welcomed the potential ban of compounded weight loss drugs, saying such a move would help to protect those vulnerable to eating disorders.

EDA, an alliance of major eating disorder organisations in Australia and New Zealand, has previously raised its concerns about compounded versions of GLP-1 RAs medication with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

“It’s indeed encouraging to hear that the TGA has initiated a consultation process regarding proposed changes to the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 concerning GLP-1 receptor agonist analogues (GLP-1 RAs), the Alliance said in a joint statement.

“This step demonstrates a commitment to addressing public health concerns and ensuring the safety and efficacy of medicines.”

The Alliance had raised several significant concerns regarding the use of weight loss medications, particularly relating to pharmaceutical compounding, but also around the lack of comprehensive medical assessments required to access these versions of GPL-1 RAs medication, particularly in telehealth consultations.

The Alliance also raised significant concerns about adolescents using medically unapproved weight-loss products and the influence of social media on targeted marketing of these medications to this vulnerable demographic.

In a letter to the TGA, the alliance recommended:

  • Review of Provider Practices: How healthcare providers address co-presentations of eating disorders and higher weight should be reviewed. This review should aim to align with established guidelines such as the “Management of Eating Disorders for People with Higher Weight: Clinical Practice Guideline”[1].
  • Accountability: Introduce measures to hold providers who prescribe weight loss medications, particularly GLP1-RAs, and the introduction of compound pharmaceutical options, accountable to a safe standard of practice.
  • Comprehensive Medical Assessments: Ensuring that comprehensive medical assessments are conducted, particularly in relation to telehealth-only consultations. This is crucial for identifying any underlying health conditions, including eating disorders, and assessing the suitability of such medications for individual patients.
  • Awareness of Risks: Increasing awareness among healthcare providers, patients and the general public about the risks associated with weight loss medications, especially concerning individuals with or at risk of eating disorders.
  • Regulation of Marketing: Advocating for stricter regulations on marketing practices, especially on social media, to prevent the targeted promotion of weight loss products to vulnerable populations, such as adolescents.

“By addressing these concerns and implementing appropriate measures, EDA aims to mitigate the potential harms associated with weight loss medications and improve the overall well-being of individuals, particularly those affected by eating disorders” the Alliance said.

Butterfly’s 2024 Paying the Price report [2] released last week found eating disorder prevalence has increased by 21% since the last report more than a decade ago, with 1.1 million Australians currently living with an eating disorder. Sufferers are twice as likely to be women and girls than other genders. “While potentially harmful to anyone, as weight loss drugs are particularly targeted at women, a lack of consultation and appropriate regulation around the use and distribution of these medications could have disastrous consequences,” said the Alliance.

EDA comprises Butterfly Foundation, Eating Disorders Families Australia, the Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders, Eating Disorders Queensland, Eating Disorders Victoria, and The Eating Disorders Association of New Zealand.


Click here to read the full media release.