FDA’s Very Limited Ability to Regulate Dietary Supplements

NY Times: Supplement Makers Touting Cures for Alzheimer’s and Other Diseases Get F.D.A. Warning

An excerpt:

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday warned 12 sellers of dietary supplements to stop claiming their products can cure diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to cancer to diabetes.

At the same time, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the agency’s commissioner, suggested that Congress strengthen the F.D.A.’s authority over an estimated $40 billion industry, which sells as many as 80,000 kinds of powders and pills with little federal scrutiny…

The F.D.A.’s oversight is based on a 1994 federal law, which imposed minimal reporting and labeling requirements on the makers of vitamins, minerals and herbs — a fledgling industry at the time. To prevent a company from selling a product, the law requires the F.D.A. to prove that it is unsafe

There are now between 50,000 and 80,000 dietary supplements on the market, according to the F.D.A. The agency also says that three of every four American consumers now take a dietary supplement regularly.

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