Dietary Supplements: The Unseen Risks and the Need for Better Oversight

Every day, the majority of Americans consume dietary supplements, believing they are making a choice for their health and wellness. But the reality is, there’s a substantial gap in federal oversight of these products. At OnderLaw, we’re passionate about ensuring the safety of our clients, and we want to shed light on an industry where consumer protection may be lacking.

The Issue at Hand

The FDA is in charge of overseeing dietary supplements. However, a glaring omission in their oversight is the absence of a pre-market review or testing for the safety of these products. Furthermore, the agency cannot even issue mandatory recalls for supplements suspected of being tainted. The lack of such essential safety nets puts Americans at risk every day.

Since the last update to the law governing the FDA’s supervision of dietary supplements in 1994, the industry has ballooned by 20 times, but the oversight hasn’t adequately followed suit.

Steps Toward a Solution

Lawmakers, recognizing this gap, have attempted to rectify the situation. The Dietary Supplement Listing Act, though it did not pass, sought to establish a compulsory product listing for supplements. It would have necessitated manufacturers to furnish the FDA with intricate details about each supplement, making it significantly easier to pinpoint unsafe products.

Despite the bill not passing, its existence offers a roadmap for future legislative action that could finally ensure more rigorous oversight of the dietary supplement sector.

The Real-World Impact

A national survey conducted for Pew in 2019 revealed startling statistics: one in eight adults reported experiencing severe side effects from dietary supplements, including escalated heart rates and kidney problems. Moreover, the New England Journal of Medicine unveiled that almost 23,000 ER visits yearly result from adverse reactions to these supplements.

The urgency to act has been further highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many manufacturers making baseless claims about their products’ efficacy against the virus.

Moving Forward: What Can Be Done

There have been commendable efforts to address this issue. The FDA’s online Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List, which provides information about potentially unlawful chemical compounds in supplements, is a move in the right direction.

Furthermore, there has been a consistent push for more funding to bolster the FDA’s oversight of these products, with Congress increasing funding in recent years.

Mandatory product listings, supported by a plethora of organizations and an overwhelming majority of the public, can be a crucial step towards better oversight. This reform is not only about bureaucratic oversight but about the health and safety of millions of Americans.

OnderLaw’s Commitment

At OnderLaw, we believe that every individual has the right to accurate information and safe products. The dietary supplement industry, as it stands, needs more rigorous oversight to protect consumers. Until then, we are here to support, inform, and advocate for the rights of all, ensuring safety is always a priority. If you or a loved one have been affected by a dangerous drug, contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.