Dozens of weight loss and immune system supplements on the market are illegally labeled and lack the recommended scientific evidence to back up their purported health claims, government investigators warn in a new review of the $20 billion supplement industry.
The report, being released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general, found that 20 percent of the 127 weight loss and immune-boosting supplements investigators purchased online and in retail stores across the country carried labels that made illegal claims to cure or treat disease.
Some products went so far as to state that the supplements could cure or prevent diabetes or cancer, or that they could help people with HIV or AIDS, which is strictly prohibited under federal law.
Consumers may not just be wasting their money on pills or tablets, but they could be endangering their health if they take a supplement in place of a drug thinking it will have the same effect, the report concluded.
Get this! “One company submitted a 30-year-old handwritten college term paper to substantiate its claim, while others included news releases, advertisements and links to Wikipedia or an online dictionary…” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? If these products make HEALTH CLAIMS, why aren’t they held to the same standards as pharmaceuticals?
Here is why this stuff occurs:
Federal regulations do not require the US FDA to review the scientific evidence for these products and their purported health benefits before they hit the market. This piece has some background on the law. The DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act) of 1994 had more to do with appeasing the electorate than in the science behind the claims. Dietary supplements are all hype and almost NO substance.
The FDA is asking for more oversight power for these products. Will that work? Simply put: it is foolish to waste money on this stuff.