by Donna Sealy
Police moved in this afternoon and shutdown a Christ Church clinic which was allegedly operating without a registered practitioner.
Barbados TODAY has learnt that several items were confiscated from the building when officers from the Fraud Squad and officials from the Ministry of Health, who are investigating the operations of the SureWay Weight Loss Clinic in Worthing, swooped down today and brought everything to a halt.
Investigations began after members of the public lodged complaints over the last couple of months about the goings-on there.
One prospective client, who spoke to this newspaper said she was alarmed when she made an enquiry and was told that the receptionist, who was said to be a registered nurse, was administering the treatments.
The person said that did not “sound right” and they opted not to sign up.
Sources also disclosed that the doctor, a non-national, who operated the clinic, was not registered to practise in Barbados. Minister of Health Donville Inniss said this evening via telephone that the Ministry of Health and its “various councils will ensure that we do what we have to do to guarantee that only licensed and registered professionals are allowed to practise in Barbados”.
He added that the ministry had received complaints about a clinic.
“Acting on complaints from the public and reports from authorities, the Ministry of Health would have engaged the assistance of the Royal Barbados Police Force to undertake an investigation at a facility that is offering health services.
“The principal office that would have been involved from the Ministry of Health is the Barbados Drug Service and my understanding is that the matter is engaging the full attention of the Fraud Squad of the police force and the Barbados Drug Service and any further action would be based on reports from these two departments,” he said.
Inniss also stated that the Ministry of Health “will continue to be vigilant regarding the work being done not only in clinics but by individuals who purport to have the skills to do what they say they’re doing”.
One medical source told Barbados TODAY that people who were looking for quick ways to lose weight fast need to be wary of what some clinics are offering.
“Weight loss clinics that offer lose-pounds-fast recipes that may not have been approved and have had adverse reactions that have negative consequences for some people [should be avoided]. As the Christmas season is celebrated people need to be aware of what they’re doing,” that person said.
Another medical source said that the one of the drugs – human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – used has not been approved by the FDA in the US for weight loss, neither has it been approved for use in Europe or Canada.
A medical doctor said he would not recommend the use of the drug, which is a hormone produced during pregnancy.
“It is felt that calorie restrictions [to] 500 a day is what causes the weight loss more than the hCG drug and because this can be associated with certain medical conditions, and a person may be pregnant, it is definitely not a recommended option for weight loss.
“But Barbados doesn’t necessarily have to abide by what the FDA has done,” the source added.
Some local clinics offer a number of discounts and other specials to people looking to lose weight without exercise. Treatments range between $1,200 to $5,000 for the injections, drops or pills for a period of six to eight weeks. The follow-up treatment included the other vitamins and a maintenance programme where the doctor would monitor his/her patient over a three month period. [email protected]