Latest news | 26 Mar 2024

Eating Disorders Alliance (EDA) advocates for action on compounded weight loss drugs


March 26, 2024

The Eating Disorders Alliance (EDA), an alliance of major eating disorder organisations in Australia and New Zealand, will write to Federal Health Minister Mark Butler to seek the removal of weight loss drugs from manufacture in compounding pharmacies to protect those vulnerable to eating disorders.

The decision is one of several agreed actions following a recent positive meeting with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regarding the risks of compounded versions of GLP-1 receptor agonist analogues (GLP-1 RAs) medications to those vulnerable to eating disorders.

In a meeting with several EDA representatives, TGA Chief Medical Adviser Prof Robyn Langham advised that while the TGA understood the Alliance’s concerns regarding such compounded versions, many of those concerns were outside the TGA’s remit.

The EDA will also now raise these concerns directly with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the Medical Board of Australia, and the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

It will additionally direct potential breaches of advertising regulations to the TGA.

“EDA enjoyed a productive meeting with the TGA, which clearly shares our concerns regarding patient safety when it comes to the compounded versions of these weight loss medications,” the Alliance said in a statement.

“The TGA was very clear about its areas of responsibility and encouraged the eating disorder sector to work collaboratively with the TGA and others to address concerns that fall into those areas.

“EDA has now formulated a plan of next steps as our commitment to protecting those vulnerable to, or living with, an eating disorder from these unregulated compounded medications is unwavering.”

The Alliance had raised several significant concerns with the TGA 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 EDA also raised significant concerns about young people using medically unapproved weight-loss products and the influence of social media on targeted marketing of these medications to this vulnerable demographic.

There are currently 1.1 million Australians living with an eating disorder with women and girls twice as likely than other genders to be affected. With these weight loss drugs aimed mainly at  women, the lack of consultation and appropriate regulation around the use and distribution of these medications could have particularly disastrous consequences.

The 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.


Media Contacts

Harriet Potter, Butterfly Communications Manager  

Ph: 0451 837 044


Breanna Guterres, Eating Disorders Victoria Director of Communications, Advocacy and Engagement

Ph: 0431 717 177


Belinda Chelius, Eating Disorders Queensland CEO

Ph:0405 906 466


Bailey Wightman, Eating Disorders Families Australia Marketing and Communications Team Leader

Ph: 0435 214 355


Melissa Zea, Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders

Ph: 0478 142 901


Megan Tombs, EDANZ Board Director

Members of the EDA and people with lived experience of an eating disorder are available for interview on request.

Editor and producers note 

Please include the following support line details in all media coverage of this story and refer to the Mindframe Media guidelines for safe reporting on eating disorders.

Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact:

  • Butterfly National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE) or   
  • Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 23
  • Eating Disorders Association New Zealand 0800 233 269 (0800 2 EDANZ) or
  • For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14