Vitamins and Dietary Supplements: Buyer Beware | Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.


Millions of Americans rely on vitamins and dietary supplements to help them lose weight, improve their health, and even substitute for prescription medication. Along with minerals, vitamins are essential to the body. Dietary supplements are different, and are not essential to the body’s proper functioning, according to the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians.

When it comes to government testing and regulation, however, both vitamins and dietary supplements are treated the same way. That is, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate them as heavily as it does prescription medication.

How Vitamins and Supplements Are Regulated

Unlike prescription drugs, vitamins and supplements are not required to undergo government testing before hitting the market. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which governs vitamins and supplements, does not even require these products to obtain FDA approval before they appear on store shelves. With the exception of iron, the Act does not even require manufacturers of vitamins and supplements to put warning labels on their bottles.

Manufacturers are supposed to produce safe products – and can be held liable for injuries caused by dangerous vitamins and supplements – but the FDA does not require any testing or approval process before a vitamin or supplement is marketed to the public. The FDA will recall a vitamin or dietary supplement if it causes injuries or death. Unfortunately, it typically takes many injuries before a vitamin or supplement prompts intervention from the FDA. In the case of ephedra, which has been banned in the United States, the FDA reported 37 deaths in just a two-year period.

The Adverse Effects of Vitamins and Supplements

According to Consumer Reports, the FDA received over 6,300 reports of adverse health effects related to vitamins and supplements between 2007 and 2012. Health complications included nausea, pain, heart problems, liver failure, and allergic reactions. The FDA also reports that numerous so-called “all natural” vitamins and dietary supplements have been pulled from the market because they actually contained ingredients found in prescription drugs. Between 2008 and 2012, the FDA recalled over 400 vitamins and supplements because they contained prescription drug ingredients that led to strokes, blood clots, liver failure, and kidney injuries.

Boston and Framingham Personal Injury Lawyers

The injuries caused by vitamins and dietary supplements are very real and can leave a person with debilitating health concerns. In the most tragic cases, these products cause deaths. The personal injury attorneys at Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. offer experienced, compassionate legal counsel to individuals and families throughout Massachusetts. Call us today at (617) 742-1170 to speak to a personal injury attorney about your case.

This website has been prepared by Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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