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Supplements Face Testing Times Amid Recalls, Lawsuits

May 1, 2009: 05:14 AM EST
Dietary supplements are under scrutiny following several high-profile lawsuits amid the recall of more than 60 weight-loss supplements containing traces of undeclared pharmaceuticals. In an opinion piece, Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of the Faseb Journal, argues that the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) made it impossible for the FDA to adequately regulate and police dietary supplements, giving manufacturers almost free rein to lace them with potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals. Action can be taken only if someone blows the whistle on adverse side effects. Weissmann cites reports that indicate if dietary supplements were subject to the same rigors as pharmaceuticals, at least 472 adverse events would have been reported in the period between 1999 and 2003, caused by echinacea, ginseng, garlic, ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, and peppermint.
Gerald Weissmann, "The Atlanta Falcon and Tono-Bungay: Dietary Supplements as Subprime Drugs", The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, May 01, 2009, © The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
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