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FDA Study: Illegal Diet Pills Cause Death

News 8s Ali Touhey reports on 25 varieties pulled from store shelves.

It can be a dieters dream. Shelves stocked full of products claiming a pill can give you the power to loss weight.

"Let me make it clear that you can't just take a pill to lose weight," said Dr. Stephen Cook at the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong.

Yet according to Dr. Cook, Americans spend $1 billion a year on dietary supplements and that number is rising.

"It's very frustrating when we see that we are spending billions of dollars out of pocket," said Dr. Cook.  "Honestly if you're looking to make money which a number of these companies are, a number of people are looking to get a quick fix."

A quick fix that can have some life threatening consequences.  A recent study done by the Food and Drug Administration found 25 diet pills to contain incredibly hazardous ingredients.  Low regulations have allowed these supplements onto store shelves and into the hands of unsuspecting consumers

"When something's a supplement there's a lot of variability that can be in there. It could be useless or in this case it could potentially be harmful," said Dr. Cook.

Seizures, heart attack, stroke and a number of deaths have been reported as a result of taking the diet pills. The good news is that no stores we checked are carrying any of the illegal pills. Still, cook wants anyone taking a dietary supplement to be careful.

"Be warned that it may not do anything and also that there's things in there that do give you side effects," said Dr. Cook.

According to the report, the FDA is seeking product recalls on all of the brands. They're also in the process of pressing criminal charges to companies pushing any of these pills.

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