Diet pill death in Paris

Paris: French health officials said one person has died and five others are in intensive care after taking diet pills prepared by a Parisian pharmacist that contained the thyroid glands of pigs.

French authorities are still trying to contact more than 60 other people believed to have taken the capsules.

Animal thyroid extract, normally prescribed to help patients with over-active thyroid glands or diabetes, is supposed to boost metabolism and limit the body’s absorption of fats and sugars. It is banned in the French medical profession’s code of ethics for use in diet pills, but is not against the law.

The French health ministry said a person taking the pills died in a Paris hospital on April 18, and 16 people have since been admitted to hospitals experiencing palpitations, fever, vomiting and diarrohea.

The director-general of France’s health ministry, Didier Houssin, said the five patients in intensive care were in a coma or had “neurological difficulties”.