According to the Nutrition Business Journal, Americans spent $28.1 billion on dietary supplements last year. Subsequently, millions more was spent on black-market products, particularly those marketed as weight loss, bodybuilding and sexual enhancers. Despite their popularity, there is little evidence that suggests dietary supplements actually provide clinical benefits. In fact, tainted products posing as dietary supplements have become the subject of intense scrutiny in the healthcare community. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has acknowledged that many products posing as dietary supplements may contain amphetamines, synthetic steroids, laxatives and other dangerous compounds.
Legitimate manufacturers of dietary supplements are required to ensure public safety. Under federal law, supplements are defined as products that contain only supplemental dietary ingredients, like vitamins and minerals. However, a growing number of manufacturers are knowingly distributing products that contain illegal drugs. Due to actions such as this, tainted products are becoming a huge problem in the United States.
Marketing drugs in the guise of supplements is illegal in the United States. However, that does not prevent many manufacturers from taking advantage of a fairly lenient screening process. Federal authorities are struggling to identify and intercept many of the black-market goods that have flooded the market with dangerous drugs.
Tainted dietary supplements that have reached store shelves are already responsible for a number of complications including: depression, addiction, heart attack, stroke, liver damage and kidney damage. In a number of documented reports, the ingestion of tainted dietary supplements has ended in fatal circumstances.
Many of the dangers associated with tainted dietary supplements go unnoticed because of what people are calling a “whisper campaign.” Regulators walk a fine line when protecting consumers from an influx of illegal products. Despite their concern for dangerous dietary supplements, they don’t want to alarm consumers to the point that they neglect the entire industry.
In the past three years, the FDA has issued over 300 warnings pertaining to tainted dietary supplements. Many of which have been sold at major online retailers and distributers. In an attempt to regulate dietary supplements, the FDA has pressured distributers to recall tainted lots and has seized over $1 million worth of product. However, with new surveillance techniques, public notices and alerts, the agency still fails to provide consumers with adequate protection. Michael Levy, acting director of the FDA’s office of drug security acknowledged that the agency is only “removing a fraction” of the dangerous products.
The problem continues to plague the industry because supplement makers in the United States can introduce new products much more easily than pharmaceutical companies. Drug makers are required to prove that their products are safe and effective, and they must obtain federal approval before going to market. However, dietary supplements, by definition, contain only dietary ingredients; the federal law on supplements does not require pre-market approval. A loophole such as this allows purveyors of tainted dietary supplements to disguise the true nature of their product.
While safety measures in the industry are increasing, their is still an influx of dangerous products being allowed on store shelves. Consumers are instructed to purchase products from legitimate retailers and to avoid those that provide “miracle results”.
Do I Have a Dietary Supplement Lawsuit?
The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in dietary supplement lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one has been injured by a dietary supplement, you should contact our lawyers immediately by clicking the link below or calling toll free 1-(949) 557-5800. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.