There was a time in the United States - not so long ago - that pharmaceutical
medicine could be manufactured and sold by nearly anyone. There were no
laws requiring that medicines must be proven effective and safe, nor were
there laws requiring an accurate list of ingredients.
Consumers are immeasurably safer today because of the Food and Drug Administration
and other federal regulators. But when it comes to non-food items we ingest
for our health, the FDA's regulatory authority is largely limited
to prescription drugs only. Over-the-counter supplements are not subjected
to pre-market approval by the FDA. These products are essentially assumed
to be safe and effective unless problems occur. And problems occur more
often than you may realize.
Over the years, a number of supplements promising increased sex drive,
weight loss, larger muscles and other miracle cures have been found to
contain banned substances not listed on their ingredient labels. The FDA
has been able to remove these
dangerous products from store shelves with limited success, but only after consumers suffered
serious injuries or even death.
Until recently, dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals and herbs) were
thought to be less risky because such ingredients are usually inexpensive
and easy to come by. Thus, product manufacturers have less incentive to
mislabel their products or to include banned substances.
Unfortunately, a recent investigation into store-brand supplements sold
by the nation's largest retailers revealed some disturbing information.
Many of these substances contain no detectable amounts of the herbs they
advertise and contain cheap, unlisted filler ingredients that could be
harmful to individuals with food allergies.
Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion.
Source: The New York Times, "
New York Attorney General Targets Supplements at Major Retailers," Anahad O'Connor, Feb. 3, 2015