–My post today is in response to the Washington Post article “GNC, Target, Walmart, Walgreens accused of selling adulterated ‘herbals” February 3, 2014.
[These news clips are disheartening but very real examples of the problem with BIG PHARMA – AC]
When it comes to “Big Pharma,” most health-conscious Americans are aware that companies such as Target, Walmart, Walgreen and GNC are no better than the pharmaceutical companies. How can a company that sells toilet paper and furniture, hoses and eyeliner consciously manufacture health care nutraceuticals (i.e., vitamins and minerals, etc.) and herbal supplements? It is for just this reason that doctors like myself do the research, know the manufacturers, and inquire with the health care supplement company CEOs routinely to guarantee authenticity, safety and efficacy of the over-the-counter (OTC) health supplements we recommend.
Natural medicine has effectively been under attack for years as pharmaceutical company lobbyists urge lawmakers to deprive Americans of the benefits of dietary supplements. Drug-company front groups routinely launch slanderous media campaigns to discredit the value of natural medicine. The FDA continues to interfere with those who offer natural products that compete with prescription drugs.
Knowing this information, we must take with a grain of salt what the Washington Post article highlights, when it quotes that “Contamination, substitution and falsely labeling herbal products constitute deceptive business practices and, more importantly, present considerable health risks for consumers.” The article goes on to point out that the Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that the FDA seek “explicit statutory authority to review substantiation for structure/function claims” — essentially, it should subject the health claims made by supplement manufacturers to the same kind of scrutiny that drugs must undergo.