Despite FDA Recalls, Banned Dietary Supplements Remain for Sale

the MPR take:

Despite being recalled by the FDA, dietary supplements adulterated with banned substances continue to remain available to the public. Between January 2009 and December 2012, the FDA had recalled 274 dietary supplements, 27 of which were analyzed in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Researchers found that 66.7% of these recalled supplements still contained banned substances and were available for purchase 6 months after the FDA had initiated the recall. Of the supplements analyzed, 63% contained the same banned ingredient identified by the FDA; other supplements contained the adulterant plus other banned ingredients, and some had additional pharmaceutical ingredients. The substances identified in these banned products included aromatase inhibitors, anabolic steroids, fluoxetine, sildenafil, sibutramine and its analogs, and phenolphthalein. Researchers conclude that recalls by the FDA are not completely effective and that more aggressive enforcement, such as increasing the FDA's enforcement powers, is necessary to keep these potentially dangerous products out of the hands of consumers.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiates class I drug recalls when products have the reasonable possibility of causing serious adverse health consequences or death. Recently, the FDA has used class I drug recalls in an effort to remove dietary supplements adulterated with pharmaceutical ingredients from US markets.