FDA Cracks Down on Dietary Supplements

 In Defective Drugs, Defective Products

When you think of dangerous and defective drugs, what do you picture in your mind? Is it an illicit drug like heroin? Or maybe you think of one of the many prescription drugs that have caused controversy or were the subject class-action lawsuits?

When you think of dangerous and defective drugs, what you might not picture are dietary supplements – the pills available at pharmacies, health food stores and other retailers.

But you should.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies conducted a year-long sweep of dietary supplements in an effort to identify what the FDA called potentially unsafe or tainted supplements.

According to the FDA, the sweep resulted in civil and criminal actions against more than 100 manufacturers and distributors of these defective drugs -ones the agency says were falsely marketed as dietary supplements.

One company in particular, USPlabs LLC and several of its executives, faces criminal action.

USPlabs, known for workout and weight-loss supplements sold under names such as Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, was the subject of an 11-count indictment related to the sale of those products.

What’s being alleged?

  • That USPlabs engaged in a conspiracy to import ingredients from China using false certificates of analysis and false labeling
  • That USPlabs lied about the source and nature of those ingredients after it put them in its products.
  • That USPlabs told some of its retailers and wholesalers that it used natural plant extracts in products when in reality, it was using a synthetic stimulant manufactured in China.

The indictment also alleges the defendants sold some of their products without determining whether they would be safe to use. It also alleges they knew of studies that linked the products to liver toxicity.

In 2013, the FDA warned consumers not to use certain USPlabs products because they were composed of a new dietary ingredient that had not been shown to be safe for consumption. The ingredient in the dangerous drugs, aegeline, is a synthetic version of an alkaloid that had been linked to acute liver failure and other ailments that forced patients to need liver transplants.

Attorneys at Pribanic & Pribanic understand just how dangerous defective drugs can be – and we wanted to make sure you knew that folks need to exercise just as much caution with over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements as you do illicit and prescription drugs.

Before you start taking any dietary supplement, keep these tips in mind:

  • Check with your doctor. You don’t know if or how the dietary supplement might interact with any of your other medications.
  • Dietary supplements could affect surgery. Some vitamins and other dietary supplements could affect any surgery you may have planned. With some procedures, you could be asked to discontinue use of certain dietary supplements as many as three weeks prior.
  • Does it sound too good to be true? Then it probably is. If a product claims to help you shed a large amount of weight quickly by simply taking a pill, for example, you might want to exercise caution.
  • Don’t be afraid to contact the manufacturer. If you have questions or concerns, call them and ask for specific information.

But what about if you’ve already taken a defective drug or a dangerous drug? If you believe that you have suffered an adverse effect from taking a defective drug, you should report it to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

However, if you have suffered a severe injury or someone you love has died as a result of taking a defective drug, it may also behoove you to call an attorney. Call the skilled attorneys at Pribanic & Pribanic today for a free consultation.

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