FDA commissioner uses blog to defend dietary supplement industry

ROCKVILLE, Md. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach on Thursday defended the dietary supplement industry through his blog site “Andy’s Take.”

“You might be interested to read on our website about recent actions by the FDA to warn consumers about certain liquid dietary supplement products containing hazardous levels of selenium,” he wrote. “My take on this is that although the vast majority of companies are marketing safe and effective products, from time to time products will get into circulation that turn out to be dangerous to you. Protecting you against these dangerous products can be enhanced with you, the public, as a partner with FDA.”

In that one sentence, Eschenbach refutes two misperceptions sometimes associated with the dietary supplement industry—one, that dietary supplement manufacturers are like so many snake-oil salesmen in promoting their products; and two, that the FDA does not actively and vigorously regulate the dietary supplement industry.

“In the last 15 years, FDA’s criminal investigations resulted in more than 4,500 arrests, more than 3,500 convictions, and more than $5.7 billion in fines and restitution of illegal profits,” Eschenbach reported.

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