Last year, Americans consumed $28.1 billion worth of nutritional supplements, in the process feeding one of the most unregulated manufacturing industries in the country. Not only is there little evidence that many of these supplements work as well as they claim, but there is also increasing evidence that many of them contain dangerous ingredients that are not mentioned on their labels.
It’s hard for Indiana personal injury lawyers to overstate the dangers to Americans from unsafe nutritional and herbal supplements. The Food and Drug Administration does not have the authority to approve supplements before they’re released into the market. Unlike with pharmaceutical drugs that have to be processed through a conventional approval procedure before they’re made available to consumers, nutritional supplements can be introduced into the market without FDA approval. The only time that the Food and Drug Administration can step in to pressure the company to withdraw products, is when there are reports of illnesses or injuries from the use of these products.
Nutritional supplements promise instant or guaranteed cures for a number of conditions, and the most popular supplements are those that promise weight loss, sexual enhancement and muscle strength. The Food and Drug Administration is aware that many of the supplements contain dangerous substances, like synthetic steroids in bodybuilding supplements and sibutramine in weight-loss supplements.
Sibutramine is a chemical ingredient that increases a person’s risk of developing heart disease. A person who suffers from hypertension and consumes a nutritional supplement containing sibutramine, may not even be aware that he has an increased risk of heart attack because of the sibutramine.
These are the kinds of risks that Americans face every day when they use dietary supplements. This situation will continue unless the Food and Drug Administration gets increased oversight and regulatory powers over the industry.