Criminals are producing your “health” supplements

And they continue with their less than ethical activities.

This is not news to people who follow Doubtful News regularly where we bring you news of tainted supplements and unscrupulous remedies. But it’s a topic that needs to be more widely known. Thanks to continued LACK of regulation and because it’s a money-making bonanza from people who believe the hype, it will only get worse.

Makers of tainted supplements have criminal pasts.

A number of supplement firms caught with drug-spiked products are run by executives with criminal backgrounds and regulatory run-ins. Tests have found their supposedly all-natural pills and powders have contained potentially dangerous ingredients including methamphetamine-like compounds and anti-psychotic drugs.

[...]a USA TODAY investigation finds that a wide array of dietary supplement companies caught with drug-spiked products are run by people with criminal backgrounds and regulatory run-ins. Consumers buying products from these firms are in some cases entrusting their health and safety to people with rap sheets for crimes involving barbiturates, crack cocaine, Ecstacy and other narcotics, as well as arrests for selling or possessing steroids and human growth hormone. Other supplement company executives have records of fraud, theft, assault, weapons offenses, money laundering or other offenses, the investigation shows.

USA TODAY scrutinized about 100 companies that have been caught selling supplements secretly spiked with drugs and potentially dangerous chemicals since 2007. The examination found that at least 14 were run by people with criminal records beyond traffic infractions. The newspaper researched corporation records to identify the company executives and owners, then examined police, court and professional licensing records, ordering files from across the country to determine what they had done in the past.

There are likely many more supplement company executives with criminal records. The FDA’s tainted-supplements database lists 123 companies that have been caught selling about 460 spiked products in the past six years, but the corporate records of nearly three dozen of the companies couldn’t be located. For about 150 spiked products, the FDA’s database doesn’t list a manufacturer, in many cases because it was unclear to the agency who made them. And many companies selling sketchy products aren’t listed in the FDA’s database.

USA TODAY’s ongoing investigation has shown that consumers of tainted diet supplements have paid dearly in some cases, suffering side effects ranging from severe bleeding and dangerous effects on diabetes control to liver damage, strokes and death. Athletes have had their sports careers jeopardized after testing positive for ingredients laced into sports supplements.

There is clearly poor quality control and lack of oversight. The federal regulations are soft on these dietary supplements.

All-natural does not mean good and it does not mean there isn’t something stuck in there you don’t want. It does not mean safe. These products are sold as sexual enhancement, muscle building and weight loss. People expect to see results and they do because an non-legal active substance is in it. But even natural remedies and vitamins can contain unknown or undesireable compounds.

Do you know people who are taking homeopathic, herbals, natural remedies or dietary supplements? Be sure to tell them that these products are problematic and NOT regulated like prescription or tested OTC drugs. They could be VERY harmful.

As we’ve noted in stories here, the products have resulted in some severe side effects such as allergic reactions, bleeding, liver damage, strokes and death. Some athletes taking these supplements have tested positive for banned substances.

This is an outstanding piece that provides example after example of failures of a broken system. The FDA does not have the staff or the teeth to do much about it.

These stories come around so often, I’m amazed people are not outraged by it. Not only are these products often worthless but can be potentially dangerous. Spread the word.

Tip: Bob Blaskiewicz

Resources:

Follow our Dietary Supplements tag and Alt med category. Also check Science-based Medicine for questions about products or treatments. DON’T ASSUME IT’S SAFE just because it’s sold off a shelf.

Just today: Warning about thyroid supplements | Doubtful News.

More:

Acacia rigidula, an amphetamine-like drug, is found in supplements .

Diet product OxyElite Pro recalled across U.S. (UPDATE: By FDA) .