Dangerous Drugs Banned by the FDA Show Up in Dietary Supplements
A study published on Tuesday, October 21st, traced FDA recalls of dangerous drugs, including recalls of supplements that feature those dangerous drugs after they have been removed from the pharmaceutical market, and showed that many of those supplements do not get removed from retail sales, even after the FDA issues a supplement recall.
The study was conducted by the Cambridge Health Alliance, a health care network affiliated with Harvard University. It found that at least half of the supplements with dangerous drugs as an ingredient remained available for purchase after the FDA issued a recall.
“There’s no question that these supplements that contain pharmaceuticals are not allowed to be sold, there are clear cut laws,” lead author Dr. Pieter A. Cohen said in an interview.
The FDA has reported found around 400 supplements that feature dangerous drugs, and the regulatory agency has so far issued recalls for 70 of those products this year, including “sexual enhancement” supplements with undeclared Viagra, and weight loss supplements with the banned drug Phen Fen. Between 2009 and 2012, the FDA recalled 274 dietary supplements alone, due to undeclared dangerous drugs.
“I was so disheartened to see that manufacturers would have the chutzpah to sell the exact same product” even after it had been recalled, Cohen said.
“People selling these products should be enforced against to the fullest extent of the law,” says Daniel Fabricant, CEO of the Natural Product Association, a nonprofit trade association that represents supplement makers and other companies. “The products analyzed in this study aren’t supplements … People selling these products online don’t represent the industry.”
“The supply chain for these products is extremely fragmented,” an FDA spokesperson said in an email. “One product manufactured by an unknown company overseas may be sold by dozens of different distributors in the United States.” However, “Dietary supplement manufacturers and distributors are legally responsible for marketing a safe product that is not adulterated, and that complies with FDA’s good manufacturing practice regulations for dietary supplements.”
Researchers in the study were able to purchase 27 of the 274 banned supplements that had dangerous drugs, primarily through the internet. The concern was that because the recalls did not spread to online retailers, those dangerous supplements could still be available in retail stores, as well.
“We excluded anything that wasn’t exactly the same as it was when the F.D.A. recalled it,” Cohen said. “But a sizable percentage of these products that are recalled, about 25 or 30 percent, are still available.”
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Dangerous Drug Recall Cases
The Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. is a leader in the consumer protection battle against dangerous drug recalls and defective devices. We represent individuals who have been killed or injured by dangerous or defective pharmaceuticals. If you or a family member have been injured or killed after using a dangerous drugs such as dietary or weight loss supplements with undeclared ingredients, contact our dangerous drug lawyers as soon as possible so that we can begin taking steps to preserve evidence and your claim immediately. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800