FDA prevents companies from marketing illegal dietary supplements

Federal officials are trying to prevent supplement makers from illegally claiming that their products might cure Alzheimer’s and other conditions.

Last week, the FDA sent many warning letters and online advisory letters to firms whose products are currently “illegally” advertised as new drugs to cure, treat, and prevent Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes.

“Such claims could harm patients by deterring them from choosing FDA-approved medical options that have been proved to be effective and safe for these conditions,” said Scott Gottlieb – FDA Commissioner.

“As supplements have grown in popularity, so has the number of companies advertising potentially dangerous drugs or making misleading or unproven statements about the potential health benefits.”

Written in cooperation with the Federal Trade Commission, these warning letters were delivered to firms including TEK Naturals, Earth Turns, Blue Ridge, and John Gray’s. You can find the full list on the FDA’s official site. Products which were illegally advertised included melatonin, bovine colostrum, fish oil supplements, and green tea extracts.

75% of American adults and 33% of kids take dietary supplements regularly, the agency reported. The industry is currently worth nearly $40 billion, with more than 80,000 products, including liquids, powders, and pills.

Dietary supplements, however, can’t claim to cure, treat, and prevent illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, the commissioner said. Previously, FDA actions have targeted firms which made similar misleading claims with opioid addiction and cancer.

The recent crackdown was implemented when the FDA has just announced the beginning of what is known as the most important modernization of dietary supplement oversights and regulations in two decades.

“Personally, I have benefited from using dietary supplements and understand the benefits of some products as a physician,” Gottlieb said. “However, consumers should have access to well-manufactured, appropriately labeled, and safe products.”

A part of that goal is to create a new “quick -response tool” to inform people more quickly when there is any potentially dangerous supplement. Also, the agency is finding new ways of being notified better when the companies develop new dietary ingredients. This results in the Botanical Safety Consortium, which allows for better ways to examine and test the safety of these supplement ingredients.

The representative for the health supplement industry acclaimed the agency’s enthusiasm for eliminating bad companies that are putting consumers at risks by promoting products with illegal drugs or ingredients.

“We welcome more enforcement actions to justify those who ignore the health and safety of consumers to make quick bucks,” said Steve Mister, CEO and president of the organization.

Source:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/11/health/Alzheimers-drug-fda.html

https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/health/FDA-Dietary-Supplements-Crackdown-505673141.html

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