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Alternative Supplements Lack Federal Oversight, Pose Dangers

It isn’t uncommon for individuals to take alternative supplements such as probiotics or herbal remedies.  Most people assume that these alternative, commonly labeled “natural” remedies, are safer than prescription drugs.  However, the alternative supplement industry is not regulated by the feds the way that prescription drugs are, sometimes leading to dangerous adverse reactions in individuals who opt to take alternative supplements.  In fact, the FDA estimates that there are 50,000 adverse reactions from supplements each year.

Parents Insist Children Continue Taking Supplements While Hospitalized

A recent NYT article highlighted how pervasive and dangerous these drugs can be, even within the hospital setting.  Two doctors from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia described their experiences with parents and their children in the hospital.  These parents often insisted that their children continue taking alternative supplements simply because they “believed” that they worked and against the doctors’ knowledge.  Other times, because parents don’t consider the supplements “drugs”, they go unmentioned when medical professionals ask about medicine regimens.

Hospital Make Moves to Protect Patients from Potentially Harmful Supplements

Because federal regulators lack the manpower to regulate alternative supplements, doctors are taking matters into their own hands to protect their most vulnerable patients from harm.  For example, doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will no longer administer alternative supplements to patients without a third party guarantee that the product was manufactured under the FDA’s “good manufacturing practice” conditions and a Certificate of Analysis that assures that what is written on the bottle is actually in the supplement.  Unfortunately, about 90% of the companies the hospital contacted never responded.  Clearly, alternative remedies are not the panacea that consumers once thought they were.

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for michael

    This is disgusting. Because the FDA clearly has the peoples health and best interests at heart? Clearly not; it's acting to classify walnuts and cherries as a drug; because of their health beneifits. The FDA approves things like FD&C and sodium laureth sulfate, while refusing to look at the healing benefits of herbs we've used FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

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