The FDA Has More than Enough Power to Stop Fraudulent Sales of Dietary Supplements

This is like the financial regulation bill all over again. Calls for regulations ignore unwise regulatory powers that already exist:

The Complaint:

The new GAO study also found online retailers claiming their products could treat, prevent or cure diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and other conditions. And it’s not just the hustlers on the Web. GAO investigators posing as elderly customers repeatedly were told by sales clerks in stores that a given supplement would prevent or cure conditions such as high cholesterol or Alzheimer’s disease.

The Answer:

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act balances consumer access to healthful products with minimizing the safety risks. As FDA Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein acknowledged last week, DSHEA strikes the right balance, but FDA needs to do more to maintain that equilibrium. FDA must use the tools it was given under the law to address the issues that hurt the credibility of responsible companies and undermine consumer confidence.

Read both sides of the argument in USA Today.

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Neil H. says:

    Give the FDA more power? Perish the thought. How many deaths have they caused already?

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    I don’t believe the FDA or FTC needs any more power to police dietary supplements. People who buy dietary supplements probably already believe the herbs are laced with fairydust. Having the FDA tell them otherwise is not going to accomplish anything except irritate the consumers.

    In years past the FDA went after red rice yeast. Its problem: red rice yeast contained low-levels of naturally-occurring lovastatin — an FDA-approved drug to lower cholesterol.

    If dietary supplement producers claim to treat a health condition, the FDA wants them to stop because the herb may not work. If the herb actually works, the FDA wants to shut them down because effective treatments should only be taken in a form approved by the FDA, after receiving a doctor’s prescription. It’s a catch-22.

  3. Joe S. says:

    There are a lot of fraudulent sales people out there but they cause far less harm than the FDA itself.

  4. Larry C. says:

    I second all of the above.

  5. Neil H. says:

    Question: Aren’t a lot of these vitamin companies run like ponzi schemes? If so why isn’t that illegal on the face of it?