WASHINGTON, D.C. –
A daily supplement or two has become routine for many Americans, but a report is highlighting how these substances can sometimes be harmful. A bill before congress is pushing for anything not falling under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration to be banned.
The movement to ban herbal supplements is based an extensive report by Consumer Reports, showing how producers of dietary supplements face little regulation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and why that can be dangerous for those taking supplements. Supplements can have side effects, and retailers and pharmacists may not understand how supplements can interact with a person’s medication, the report said. Additionally, since supplements are regulated as food, the ingredients do not have to be proved safe and effective in the same manner prescription drugs are by the FDA.
Dr. Donna Seger, the director of the Tennessee Poison Center, said that many people do not think about supplements’ potential consequences on their health. “An estimated 23,000 people every year end up in emergency rooms after taking supplements, and there’s no real proof they do any good whatsoever.”
Others say this is just another instance of “big pharma” buying off politicians. Herbalist Tray Reed says,“It’s not supplements that do they harm, it’s these drug companies. They pump you full of a drug that costs hundreds of dollars when some unpatented supplements would do the trick for a fraction of the price. Then you have to take another drug to fix the side effects of the first drug. It’s a scam.”