Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Unregulated supplements are a tragedy

Calcium dietary supplement tablets.

Calcium dietary supplement tablets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who knows how many other unexplained deaths and near-deaths can be attributed to the vast experiment foisted upon an unwary American populace by such drugs — I mean, “supplements”?

Thanks to 1994′s Hatch Act, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), pushed through Congress and released upon a then-unprotesting public by Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), substances which may be benign, toxic, and everything in between, as long as they are sold as “dietary nutritional supplements,” get a virtual free pass…

A “Perspective” article in a recent New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Pieter Cohen called for a tightening — no, not even that, merely actually enforcing the law as written — by having the FDA demand that, instead of pleading with, the supplement manufacturers supply the agency with at least the legal minimum of data on their products’ safety.

Some have responded with protests over “Big Government” intervention.

One of these days some supplement, contaminated or virginal, will kill a bunch of naive customers, and cries will ring out over their lax regulation.

Responsible public health authorities should effect long overdue legal and regulatory control over this millions-strong, uncontrolled experiment before such a tragedy forces their hands.

  • Drugs, Supplements, and Herbal Information (MedlinePlus)

    Learn about your prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines. Includes side effects, dosage, special precautions, and more.Browse dietary supplements and herbal remedies to learn about their effectiveness, usual dosage, and drug interactions.

  • Dietary Supplements Labels Database 

    Information about label ingredients in more than 6,000 selected brands of dietary supplements. It enables users to compare label ingredients in different brands. Information is also provided on the “structure/function” claims made by manufacturers.

    These claims by manufacturers have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Companies may not market as dietary supplements any products that are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

March 21, 2012 - Posted by | Consumer Health | ,

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