At the beginning of the month, our senior editor Brandi Koskie blogged about the Hydroxycut recall. Here’s a quick recap, and where it may (or should) lead with regards to future health legislation:
Is the Food & Drug Administration protecting consumers from dangerous and fraudulent claims by supplement makers, or are they simply reacting after the fact when it’s too late? That’s what the advocacy group called the Reality Coalition thinks. And there’s some merit to that claim. The group argues that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), does little to protect consumers from unsafe supplements like Hydroxycut until it’s too late.
Earlier this month, the FDA ordered a recall on the popular weight loss supplement Hydroxycut, after it received 23 reports of serious liver problems, ranging from jaundice and elevated liver enzymes. In 2007, a 19-year-old died of liver damage related to the use of Hydroxycut. Amazingly, that wasn’t reported to the FDA until this past March.
To make matters worse, there have been other problems associated with Hydroxycut, including seizures, heart problems, and rhabdomyolysis, a muscle ailment that can lead to other issues.
The controversy over the dangers of certain supplements really came to the forefront when major league baseball pitcher Steven Belcher died while using ephedra. Since then, there seems to have been more sensitivity to the dangers that some supplements may pose.
As a result, the FDA has gotten more aggressive in monitoring dietary supplements. In March, the agency sent letters to 72 companies regarding unlisted ingredients, and many of the companies subsequently recalled their products.
The problem that seems to be the most pressing, and obvious, is that under the current incarnation of the DSHEA, supplement companies don’t need FDA approval before they are put on the market. How insane is that? That’s akin to testing cars for safety after they are made.
How many more people need to become sick or die before a common sense revision to the law is brought about?
“Now is the ideal time for Congress… to raise the regulatory bar for weight loss supplement manufacturers to be accountable for the safety and efficacy of their products,” says Louis J. Aronne, M.D., co-chair of Reality Coalition. “We firmly believe that there needs to be an FDA review process for all over-the-counter weight loss products.”
(via: News Inferno)
May 17th, 2009