Sunday, January 8, 2012

Does the Supplement Industry Care About Safety?

On December 27, 2011, I read this article,, in the online edition of the dietary supplement trade publication, Natural Products Insider. In it author Sandy Almendarez states that, “Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., Director, Division of Dietary Supplement Programs, FDA, asked industry what kind of legacy it wants to have—“. Dr. Fabricant wanted to know if the industry wanted to leave a legacy of "unsafe products on the market with the potential to harm consumers,..”

Ms. Almendarez responded, “Well, no, Dr. Fabricant, that's not how industry wants to be remembered. But I think his straw man argument doesn't really address the issue of safety.” She proceeded to quote Mark Blumenthal, of the American Botanical Council (ABC), another supplement trade group, as saying, “In general, dietary supplements appear to be one of the safest consumer goods.” Mr. Blumenthal quoted statistics that he claimed demonstrated that, but I believe that an independent investigator who checked would come up with different statistics than those presented by Blumenthal and would disagree with his conclusions about the safety of supplements.

I submitted the following comment after the article on December 27, 2011 followed by links to my blog and webpage: 
This is crazy. The industry is concerned about consumer safety? Then why don't you speak out about silver supplements and those who promote, use and sell them? And why did you fight so hard to keep the FDA from banning ephedra?
When I hit the submit button, a window popped up saying: Comment awaiting approval. Your comment must be approved by a moderator before appearing here.

Today is January 8, 2012. My comment has never been posted on the Natural Products Insider site. However, I am not at all surprised that a supplement industry group would not want anyone to read it, and I hope that the general public realizes that most trade groups only publish things that promote their products, never things that are negative, unless they absolutely have to because they have already been heard by so many that they have to do damage control. 

Based on my dealings with the supplement industry, I believe it is as bad as the tobacco industry ever was. I fear that there could well be an entirely useless supplement out there that is as lethal as cigarettes but that by the time it becomes apparent that it will be to late to save many who have used it from the premature deaths it will cause. 

If the supplement industry really cared about your health, it would not sell products that hadn’t been well studied and shown to offer benefits and to be safe. It would issue prominent warnings about the uselessness and danger of silver "dietary supplements" as well as those who promote and sell them, and it never would have supported the lawsuit intended to prevent the FDA from banning ephedra supplements after all the deaths and serious adverse reactions such as strokes and heart attacks reported in users.

dietary supplements, supplement safety, unsafe supplements, Natural Product Insider, Daniel Fabricant, FDA, Sandy Almendarez


  1. I've been reading your blog and I want to thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and experiences..