So, here is my question – when will the Congress and the FDA get off their butts and do something about active pharmaceutical ingredients appearing in dietary supplements or the other issues with dietary supplements that occur over and over? This is not a new problem. We have posted about it numerous times here, here, and here, just to cite a few. While it seems like weight loss and erectile dysfunction supplements are some of the biggest contributors to the problems, the entire dietary industry and its legislative and regulatory framework are rife with problems and prime for review.
Health warnings and advisories are becoming all too common. Warning letters are being issued at a record pace for dietary supplements making illegal drug claims, advertising cures and treatments for weight loss, diabetes, cancer, stress, high blood pressure, pain relief, and memory improvement, among other outrageous and unproven claims. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are good players in the dietary supplement industry that stay within bounds, but there are many more that are taking advantage of consumers, not only by including illegal active pharmaceutical ingredients or making drug claims for their products. In many instances, the label’s claim regarding the ingredient of the dietary supplement is found upon assay to be well below what is actually in the product, and, in some cases, the ingredient is not even found in the product at all.
Dietary supplements are part of a multi-billion-dollar industry. That means consumers are funding, with their hard-earned cash, products that may not give them what they are paying for or may contain dangerous active pharmaceutical ingredients that can cause significant health problems. While the FDA does “regulate” the industry, legislative provisions have hampered the Agency in policing its charge because there is not an approval requirement for the marketing of dietary supplements. Maybe it’s time to rethink this issue in an effort to provide greater protection for the general public.