April 30, 2015

SUPPLEMENTS RIDDLE: Sales Skyrocket as Controversies Intensify

Posts about dietary supplements are the most popular on this blog. Essentially unregulated, supplements represent a gigantic business in America. Together, vitamins and supplements generated nearly $25B – BILLION – in sales during 2013.

This graph from Euromonitor International shows 2013 U.S. sales via the blue bars with dollar figures at left. The orange dots represent percentages -- shown at right -- of projected sales growth between 2013 and 2018. (Example: protein supplements show greatest sales growth potential, about 18%.)

This next graph (same source) shows the specific health issues for which Americans bought supplements in 2013:

As sales just keep growing, so do the troubling questions about the safety, efficacy, and actual contents of these supplements. 

For example, just two days ago the FDA posted this update on its website:
On April 28, 2015, the FDA issued warning letters to 14 companies regarding a total of 17 products for which the product labeling identifies DMBA as a dietary ingredient. 
The FDA considers these products to be adulterated because they are labeled as containing a new dietary ingredient, DMBA, and because they have not satisfied the conditions described above to include DMBA as a dietary ingredient. 
Under existing law, including the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act passed by Congress in 1994, the FDA can take action to remove products from the market, but the agency must first establish that such products are adulterated or misbranded. 
The companies have 15 business days from the date of receipt of the letter to communicate to the agency the specific steps they will take to bring their products into compliance with the law. The warning letters also caution the companies that the FDA may take further enforcement action without warning if they do not immediately cease distribution of the products. 
The agency will continue to update this page in the event additional actions are taken related to DMBA.

The FDA link above reveals the identity of those 14 companies that received the FDA warning letters. That link also includes the NINE names by which the suspect ingredient – DMBA – are known.

Next week, we’ll take another look at this immensely popular topic. In the meantime, I’ve shown below some links to earlier posts -- there are many others -- that chronicle the “recent history” of supplements on this blog:

No comments: