DOJ, FDA Target Supplement Industry, But What About Big Pharma?

Officials at the Justice Department and certain regulatory agencies have turned their attention to the dietary supplements industry, filing multiple charges against numerous companies over false claims that they have made regarding their products. While the effort is rightfully being applauded by the public, as consumers have the right to know what is in the products they purchase, it highlights the double standard set for the supplement industry versus Big Pharma and companies such as Monsanto.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Department of Justice has filed criminal charges against Dallas-based USPlabs, which produces workout and weight-loss supplements. The DOJ complaint states that USPlabs made false claims to retailers that its products contained natural plant extracts, when they actually contain a synthetic stimulant manufactured in a Chinese chemical factory.

The DOJ has reportedly been working with the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to bring criminal charges against over 100 makers and marketers of dietary supplements.

As part of the effort, the FTC has filed a lawsuit against Sunrise Nutraceuticals. The suit accuses the company of falsely claiming that its supplement Elimidrol is “guaranteed to work” for opiate withdrawals.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the supplement industry has been criticized significantly over the last year.

A study in the British Journal of Cancer, which found a potential connection between men who took muscle-building supplements and the risk of testicular cancer, prompted multiple state attorneys general to ask Congress to investigate herbal supplements. Additionally, the New York attorney general’s office asked GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart to halt sales of certain supplements after tests revealed that they did not contain the herbs they claimed to have.