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Dietary Supplements: Is the Fox Guarding the Hen House? Part 5

Posted Apr 19 2013 3:00am
It's been a while since I talked about the fox guarding the hen house .  You know how that story ends and it's not good!  In truth, neither Big Pharma nor the dietary supplement industry are without blame.   Several pharmaceutical companies have been fined for illegal marketing  while a industry subset recently set the nation abuzz by selling a contaminated product leading to infection & death .

And in a research letter published early online this past Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine , the authors noted that over the last 5 years, over 200 dietary supplements have been recalled for containing unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients.  As Disraeli is quoted to have said, " There are lies, damned lies, and statistics ."  Thus, the dietary supplement industry would point out that since 2010, there has been a decrease in the number of recalls .  

But I have to agree with the editorialist who noted that these supplement recalls are initiated mainly based upon consumer complaints because the Food & Drug Administration does not have the power to proactively provide oversight.  As such, these recalls probably underestimate the number of contaminated products on the market.  And in fact, the dietary supplement manufacturers are not required to demonstrate either efficacy or safety prior to making their miraculous claims as long as they provide the ubiquitous disclaimer .  But before inciting widespread riot & chaos, let's recall that most manufacturers are out to do the right thing and improve health.  So just beware those promising miraculous improvements.  Caveat emptor.

Dietary Supplements: Part 4 Dietary Supplements: Part 3 Dietary Supplements: Part 2 Dietary Supplements: Part 1

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