Last week Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) announced that it would no longer dispense most dietary supplements to patients, making it the first hospital in the United States to ban these products. According to hospital officials, the new policy was motivated by the fact that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does not routinely oversee the manufacture of dietary supplements and, therefore, cannot guarantee their safety and effectiveness.
Sarah Erush, Pharm D, the Clinical Manager of the hospital’s pharmacy and a member of its Therapeutic Standards Committee explained the hospital’s concern as follows: “Because vitamins and dietary supplements are essentially unregulated, there is no sound information about adverse side effects, drug interactions, or even standard dosing for the vast majority of them. Administering these medications – particularly to children with serious health complications – is unethical when the risks are unknown, and when there are alternative treatments that have been proven in clinical trials to be safe and effective.”
The hospital will make exceptions for a small number of vitamins and nutrients whose use is indicated in certain medical conditions and will stock these products if they meet quality and safety standards.
But those are rare, not common.
I’d be happy to say so long to the GNCs and shelves of alphabetically arranged pills that make expensive urine off the shelves of Costco, Target and Walmart. People are wasting their money. I also hope for the day when these products are regulated like they should be. See our MANY posts on dietary supplements – why you should NOT trust them to be useful or even safe.
Is it a coincidence that this is the hospital of Dr. Paul Offit? Hmm. My hero.