EZbetic – registered as a food supplement and not as a prescription drug – is suspected by the Health Ministry of containing an active ingredient used to treat type II diabetes, even though a food supplement may not legally contain drugs.

The ministry said on Wednesday that its lab discovered the medication glibornuride, which is a member of the drug family of sulphonylurea used in treating the disease.

Meanwhile, the ministry said that its enforcement branch had filed a police complaint against Dr. Ilan Zamir, an Orthodox physician who advertises his Jerusalem practice of homeopathic medicine largely in the haredi media.

Senior ministry officials said they had received numerous complaints against Zamir over the years but were able to take action only after seizing creams the physician sells “as natural products” for children and adults that lab tests identified as containing steroids, which are not natural and cannot be sold without a prescription. Zamir also runs “salt rooms” he claims are effective against respiratory problem.

The ministry said that EZbetic “is not natural and is liable to cause a speedy and dangerous drop in blood sugar [hypoglycemia].”

“The danger is even greater if taken with prescription drugs for treating diabetes such as Gluco-Rite, insulin and others,” the ministry continued.

The product is sold mostly door-to-door by salespeople and via Internet sites, especially in the North, the ministry said, adding that there is no import and licensing agreement for sale in Israel.

The ministry urged the public not to purchase or consume the products.

Mickey Arieli, head of the ministry’s pharmaceutical crimes unit, said it had recently intercepted 30,000 capsules of the product made in China and smuggled in under various names. He had learned about it from a pharmacist in the North who was told by a customer that it was very popular among diabetics taking prescription medications.

“It is very cheap to make in China, and those involved are making huge profits,” Arieli said.

Anyone with information about the capsules should call the unit at (02) 6551772/4.

Regarding Zamir, who is a licensed doctor, the ministry officials said that two years ago, it investigated the case of a “four-month-old baby treated by his mother with Zamir’s creams, causing his skin to be so seriously affected that he looked horrific and was hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.” The child has since recovered.

Arieli, who was accompanied on the “raid” by Dr. Michael Dor, head of the general medicine branch, said the homeopathic preparations they found in Zamir’s office had “not received approval from the ministry and were not natural as claimed.”

The ministry spokeswoman on Wednesday issued a statement saying it was “informing the pubic that formulations and creams from materials whose sources are not known are marketed by Dr. Ilan Zamir’s Givat Shaul clinic in Jerusalem, some of them marked ‘All Natural’ but containing active [pharmaceutical] ingredients.”

The spokeswoman added that “among the products found were drugs prepared as pharmaceutical preparations not approved by the ministry, without the required expiration dates and found to contain active ingredients.”

The ministry added that it suspected the products “had been provided to patients in Dr. Ilan Zamir’s Givat Shaul clinic.”

It “recommended to the public that they stop using these products and will continue its efforts to conclude the examination and take suitable action against the physician and the marketers.”

The Jerusalem Post tried to contact three phone numbers at Zamir’s clinic but none of the calls were answered, nor were there responses to phone messages.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger