February 15, 2019 Ryan Ghassemi
FDA Polices Advertisement of Dietary Supplements
On Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration issued warnings to 17 dietary supplement companies for making falsified or unsupported claims about the benefits of their products. A recent trend in the industry has seen these companies and others advertising their products as treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. The commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, plans to lead “one of the most significant modernizations of dietary supplement regulation and oversight in more than 25 years” (1). One of the major concerns with these falsely advertised products is that they lead consumers to abandon physician-prescribed treatments that are proven safe and effective. By comparison, dietary supplements have historically required a watchful eye, as roughly 800 products between 2007 and 2016 were found to contain unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients (1). To emphasize the FDA’s priority of protecting public health, Gottlieb plans to strengthen enforcement methods and develop a “rapid-response tool to alert the public” when products are flagged as unsafe (1). This action is supported by trade groups in supplement manufacturing that wish to preserve “consumer confidence for all the legitimate products” on the market (2).