Save Our Nutritional Supplements!!

Written By Chiropractic Health and Wellness on July 24, 2013

If you want to be able to buy and use nutritional supplements (vitamins) and not have their availability controlled by a government agency which is heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry,  then please act immediately by contacting your Senator in Washington.  Ask them to oppose Senate bill 1310.  If you are in Minnesota you can contact the Senators as follows:

Senator Al Franken- www.franken.senate.gov
Senator Amy Klobuchar- www.klobuchar.senate.gov 


Go to these links and click on the “contact” tab and send a message to them directly. For more information on this issue I have written a bit more below.


For those of you who currently take nutritional supplements (vitamins) and either feel or know that they help you stay healthier, there is a looming threat to your continued use of these products.  For years the pharmaceutical industry has fought to see the supplement manufacturers be further regulated and contained because these entities represent a threat to the financial interests of the drug makers.  They have stated that the manufacturers of supplements are poorly regulated and that supplements are not safe.  Therefore, there argument is that there needs to be further governmental regulation of the industry by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that all such products should meet the standards currently set for drugs on the market. 


 First of all, the FDA gets a significant portion of its funding from the pharmaceutical industry, thus making them far from unbiased in this fight.  Secondly, most supplements are not patentable, being natural substances, and therefore no company can claim exclusive right to their manufacture and distribution.  This means that no company can make the kind of money that drug companies make on their products and therefore no company could or would make the necessary investment to see a natural product through the FDA approval process. What this means is that few supplements will even be available and those that are will be exorbitantly priced.


There is legislation being proposed by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois (Senate Bill 1310) which would impose even stricter regulations on supplement manufacturers than currently exist for the pharmaceutical industry.  He has tried this legislative tactic before and failed miserably, but he is making another pass with this new legislation.  If this legislation passes it will dramatically limit your access to supplementation, will drive the costs even higher and will effectively eliminate the competition that the drug companies currently feel from the supplement industry.  I am not sure about you, but I am not that excited by the prospect of an even strong pharmaceutical industry, nor more governmental regulation.


The facts about supplements are as follows:

•    A recent study by the General Accounting Office of the US government stated that, “FDA officials told us that the current regulatory framework is sufficient to identify and act on safety concerns regarding foods with added dietary ingredients.”  Therefore, claims that the industry needs additional regulation are unfounded.
•    Data from the U.S. National Poison Data System’s annual report, which tracked data from 57 U.S. poison centers, showed vitamin and mineral supplements caused zero deaths in 2010, whereas pharmaceuticals caused more than 1,100 of the total 1,366 reported fatalities. FDA-approved drugs cause 80 percent of poison control fatalities each year.6 Poison control centers report 100,000 calls, 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations and nearly 500 deaths each year from acetaminophen (Tylenol) alone. 
•    Since 2008, the supplement industry has been required to report adverse events to the FDA.  To give you a sense of comparison, in 2008 there were 1,080 adverse events reported to the FDA involving supplements. An adverse event is when a person experiences a negative reaction to something that they take.  It should be noted that half of the US population takes supplements (157 million individuals).  In that same year there were 526,527 adverse events reported for prescription drugs and 26,517 for vaccines.  Therefore, there were over 500 times more adverse events associated with drugs than with supplements just in that one year.


Conclusion: Supplements are very safe and there are already sufficient safeguards in place to monitor and regulate the industry.  There are insufficient grounds to justify governmental incursion into this arena.  Tell your Senator that you oppose 1310.

 

-Dr. Tim Fargo

 


Posted In: Nutrition