nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Supplements to Come Under Some Control

The Salt Lake Tribune (Mar 11)  reports that Senators have reached an agreement on a bill to put in place minimal safety oversight of the complementary and supplement industry.  Up to this point, the producers have operated with relative impugnity; no agency could question claims or examine pre-retail safety, or force manufacturers to perform and submit any data that would show their product was not dangerous and of some benefit.

But before we get excited about this...  Before those men who took saw palmetto for their prostate and got breast enlargement breathe a sigh of relief... Before those elderly who were at slightly increased risk from hemorrhagic stroke due to taking Ginkgo Biloba rest easier...  There was a compromise:

"The original McCain-Dorgan bill was modeled on USADA's concerns and would have required supplement makers to provide some proof as to the safety of their products. The companies would also have to hand over any customer complaint to the government" according to the SL Ttribune.

These requirements were removed.  So, what we're left with is the following:

--All dietary supplement companies have to register with the federal government.

--The Food and Drug Administration has the ability to issue recall order if there is a reasonable probability [emphasis mine] a supplement is spiked or could cause serious health problems.
--FDA to more quickly publish guidelines on new [not the old, I guess] dietary ingredients.
--FDA notifies the Drug Enforcement Administration if they find an ingredient contains a steroid.

Essentially this keeps the onus for safety off the manufacturers and places it on the FDA.  So the companies still get a pass.  A bill to ensure the public's safety should have more teeth than this.

Maybe next time.

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