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Don’t Let the FDA Ban Weight Loss Supplements!

FDA KickbackFollowing the withdrawal last week of a leading weight loss drug, the battle between natural approaches to weight loss and the drug companies is likely to intensify.

We first reported in April 2008 that drug giant GlaxoSmithKlein joined with some partners in filing a so-called Citizen Petition with the FDA. The petition asked the FDA to stop supplement producers from making any weight loss claims at all.
The idea was that weight is closely related to diseases such as diabetes. Therefore only FDA-approved drugs should be able to make weight loss claims.
It was clear why Glaxo thought this a good idea. If the FDA agrees, supplement competition for weight loss drugs would be wiped out in one stroke. It might be less clear at first glance why the American Dietetic Association, the Obesity Society, and Shaping America’s Health (founded by the American Diabetes Association) joined Glaxo. But then again, if you look at who is giving these organizations money, their disgraceful behavior is more understandable.
In the wake of the withdrawal last week of Abbott Labs’ Meridia pill from the market, the only weight loss drug still on the market is Glaxo’s over-the-counter drug Alli. So if the FDA finally decides to respond favorably to the petition and has natural weight loss supplements removed, Glaxo will have a total monopoly in weight loss.
Glaxo’s Alli (also known as Orlistat) is not however anybody’s idea of the perfect drug. First it doesn’t reduce weight much. Then there are the side effects.
Oily stools and flatulence are offputting enough (Glaxo even suggested that first-time users of Alli wear dark pants or bring a change of clothes to work until they get used to the diet pill’s unpleasant consequences!). Of greater health concern is the vitamin deficiency it causes. Moreover, it is now being investigated for causing liver damage—this, after going through the FDA’s drug approval process!
As the Los Angeles Times pointed out recently, this is not shaping up to be a good year for weight loss drugs. An FDA advisory committee voted against recommending approval of the drug lorcaserin—the third negative vote on prescription obesity drugs this year by the advisory committee. Lorcaserin is similar to Meridia; it works by suppressing appetite. In September, the FDA ruled that Meridia should either be taken off the market or undergo changes to limit its availability to only people who have no history or risk of cardiovascular disease. Previous studies show the drug increases the risk of heart attack and stroke among users who have cardiovascular disease. So it did not come as a surprise when Abbot Labs withdrew the drug from the US market last week. It had already been taken off the market in Europe.
An Action Alert
Just because the FDA hasn’t ruled on the Glaxo petition in over two years doesn’t mean it’s a non-issue. Far from it. The FDA often waits for years before responding. We need to remind the FDA that we’ve still got our eyes on Glaxo’s underhanded attempt to foist even more pharmaceutical monopoly on us. Please keep the pressure on. Tell the FDA you will not allow pharmaceutical companies to use the Citizen Petition process for their own financial gain. Take action now


Click this link to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.
We’d also love to hear your comments about this article—just add your thoughts below—but remember that the messages below are only seen by our ANH-USA readers and not Congress or government agencies.

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27 thoughts on “Don’t Let the FDA Ban Weight Loss Supplements!

  • Mike Scott

    FDA —
    Please work to support natural, healthy alternatives for weight loss instead of being the lap dog for pharmaceutical companies. Please serve We the People.
    Thank you.

  • As a practitioner of the healing art of herbalism, I feel that this should not happen for to ban one herb would be atrocious in regards to freedoms in this nation. To eliminate one native herb from being able to be obtained by one human being is a violation of basic human rights…and definately violates the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and the Declaration of Independance…
    Thank you

  • Glaxo submits a “Citizens Petition” to the FDA….this is insane. Glaxo doesn’t represent the citizen. They just represent their large bonuses!!

  • Dean Bayer

    I know that you consider it your job to protect drug companies profits while reducing the population of the world, but that is not what the American public expects of you. Actually many of us realize what you think your job is. How about surprising us all and actually protect the public and not the drug companies and leave the natural products that actually cure a disease or help people to lose the extra weight to be freely sold on the open market.

  • Frank L Fredenburg

    I take supplements every day. I don’t want the government telling me what to eat or drink, or what vitamins or herbal supplements I can take! Period! It amazes me that I have to even write this email! That this government would consider taking our rights away to have gardens and grow our own food and take preventive measures to stay healthy, disgusts me! That’s exactly what this government is trying to do!

  • Sandra Woodall

    I am conflicted here. I don’t think Big Pharma should have any sort of monopoly, but I am also concerned that not all “natural” supplements are necessarily safe. Somehow there has to be a way of testing supplements, too. I think they are valuable, but the labels don’t always tell the whole truth.

    • Lori Lester

      Excellent point, Sandra! I would love to see the FDA do its job and protect us from harmful products, including big pharma products as well as natural supplements, which as you say, may not be healthy for us at all. Just because something says “healthy” in the label, doesn’t make it so.

  • Robert Cruder

    Sadly for the vendors, weight loss is a medical claim. How can one criticize the pharmaceutical industry for poor testing and documentation when the natural products often have none of either.
    Perhaps alternative claims such as suppression of hunger might be considered non-medical.
    I am tired of having supplements banned because ignorant people purchase and use them based only on the advertising or label claims.
    No natural or herbal product works on everyone and few have any immediate effect. When the purchaser sees no immediate effect, the practice of increasing the dosage, the frequency or the cycle length can kill. It takes only a few documented deaths to ban not just one product but all products that have similar composition.
    How about selling products based only on their composition with no claims? The ignorant will stop buying them and killing themselves. The informed consumers will continue to have access without further FDA bans.
    Perhaps this would eliminate the use of “proprietary blend”, “matrix” and “stack”. If the vendor won’t say what is in a product, then the purchaser cannot make an informed decision regarding risk and should be able to blame the vendor for any and all negative effects.
    How about buying certified extracts and USP-grade chemicals which can be sold without specific medical claims. Encapsulate your own personal mix. This eliminates both the marketing BS and the suicidal morons.

  • Bill

    The FDA can approve hundreds of toxic drugs, whose makers are later sued by ambulance chasers and yet-they want to stop natural substances that work from reaching consumers hands. I believe if one follows the money trail, one would find Big Pharma with strong ties to the FDA.

  • Alex Ojeda

    Please don’t damage natural remedies. What we need is the banning of the crazy pharmaceuticals being passed off as safe.

    • It has more to do with gulsets pukes with no control in their own lives, trying to control the lives of others. I used to be for McCain before He started down this road. I have a lot of respect for what he went thru in Viet Nam, but totally disagree with his treck towards trying to get rid of supplements. Some of them probably are bad but I can attest to the goodness of most of them. I have bought from this company for years after having had brain surgery after being hit by a drunk driver. The items that I buy keep me from having to take the garbage that the drug company’s put out. I think that there will be a real price to be paid if these scumbags get their way. People have to get off their collective asses and write/call their “so called” representives and let their feeling be known. Let’s pray that they do.Gary Rynoretired cop

  • Andy Bruck

    I would like to be able to share this article, “Don’t Let the FDA Ban Weight Loss Supplements” via facebook, but when I attempt to do so, the link it offers does not convey the story’s topic, but instead states,
    “Welcome to the Alliance for Natural Health – USA
    Human health is suffering worldwide. The primary cause? Disconnection from nature and all things natural. The ANH is working to reconnect us.”
    Also, I looked on your Facebook page, and this article has not been cross-referenced there yet.

  • Following the withdrawal last week of a leading weight loss drug, the battle between natural approaches to weight loss and the drug companies is likely to intensify. This is just the start at trying to kill off the people here in the USA and the world. Our son was diagniosed with a rare brain disease called pacns and if the doctors at Akron Children’s hospital had their way our son would be died. We as parents/caregivers did the research and help to put his disease in remission with natural remedies. Please for the life of some people to use natural cures not to save money but to save a life.
    Thnak you and may the God of Heaven bless you and yours,
    ken & sue

  • Lisa Szepanski

    Pharmaceutical companies do not represent the citizens of the U.S. Their only true concern is profits.

  • I think banding the diet supplements is a very good idea. The only way to truly loose weight and be healthy is by fitness, diet. supplements is a billion dollor industry aimed at the weak.

  • cleanguy06

    Dear Jewel Courville,
    This is an issue of each American having the freedom to choose whatever he/she wants. And if the fact that you spell “ban” as “band” is an indication of your inability to know what’s good for you then God help you.

  • Lynn D.

    Jewel Courville is either a shill for the FDA/Big Pharma, or is the most ignorant person on the planet! I don’t need BIG BROTHER to tell me what’s “good” or “bad” for me!!!!!!!! Especially in light of the fact that Big Brother is poisoning our food and water supply and anyone with more than 3 neurons firing can figure out that they have an agenda to keep Americans FAT AND DIABETIC AND DEPENDANT ON BIG PHARMA!!!!!!!!!!!! Weight loss supplements that WORK such as ephedra create thin, HEALTHY people (those in the majority with the brains to not abuse these supplements) and thin healthy people are harder for them to CONTROL WITH BIG PHARMA and are not cash “cows” (pun intended).

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