There is an ongoing campaign aimed at regulating supplements as drugs that would allow the drug industry to eliminate the competition of the supplement industry, increasing its own profits. Their point is that supplements are not regulated as drugs, so therefore they are unsafe. The strange thing is that prescription drugs kill many more people than car accidents, and this makes them one of the most dangerous products on the market today.
Still, those pharmaceutical agents continue to lobby for drug regulations to ensure our “safety”. Just think what it could cost us all just for the vitamins that we use each day if they are only available by prescription and at drug costs! The sale of dietary supplements was nearly $37 billion in 2014 and the U.S. population has now reached 68% as users of these supplements. They have even gone so far as to indicate that consumers may endanger their health by taking vitamins and supplements. All for the glorious dollar!
Vitamin supplements do not pose a public health calamity as is being unfairly insinuated. Consumer Reports has issued a similar report, raising the nonsensical and inaccurate claim that supplements put your health at risk just because they aren’t regulated as drugs. In fact, supplements have an enviable safety record. The supplement industry has been required to report adverse events to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s adverse effects reports system since 2008. The reporting system shows there were 488 times as many adverse events reported from prescription drugs as from dietary supplements between 2008 and 2011. Most adverse events from supplements are commonly associated with sexual enhancers, energy-boosters and weight loss formulas, NOT vitamins and minerals.
Regulating supplements like they do drugs would not make them safer. It would make more sense to argue that we need much more stringent regulations on the current drugs. Why keep focusing on dietary supplements when drugs clearly pose a far greater health hazard?
Consumer Reports stoop to shocking lows reporting 15 supplement ingredients to avoid, but curiously none of the members of this panel have been identified. This so-called expert panel is filled with documented supplement loathers. The Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser is an outspoken pro-drug, anti-supplement crusader by the name of Dr. Marvin Lipman.
Drs. Donald Marcus and Arthur Grollman have also campaigned against the use of herbs. They claim their long-term historical use is no guarantee of safety. One person on Consumer Reports’ panel, Philip Gregory, director of the Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice and associate professor of pharmacy practice at Creighton University published a study showing that of the 1,560 dietary supplement-related regulatory alerts identified through Health Canada and FDA MedWatch, sexual enhancement products accounted for 33% of all regulatory alerts.
To conclude, supplements intended for sexual enhancement, weight loss and bodybuilding or athletic performance, are those that appear to pose the greatest risk for patient harm due to product contamination.
Most supplements that you buy are safe. Again, it’s all about what goes in their pockets.
-Dr Fredda Branyon