This is according to the most recent data. But the FDA’s tightening of supplement regulations is for our safety, right? Action Alert!
Every year, the American Association of Poison Control Center’s National Poison Data System (NPDS) releases an annual report that tracks deaths and serious adverse events as a result of poisoning from a wide variety of substances, including drugs and supplements. NPDS is “the only comprehensive, near real-time, poisoning surveillance database in the United States.”
According to the most recent report, ZERO Americans died from taking any supplement in 2013. That includes anything from substances that must be taken with care and medical guidance, such as kava kava or yohimbe, or ayurvedic medicines (which must be sourced with care to be sure they are free of heavy metals), to standard vitamins and amino acids, to the gentlest homeopathic remedies. Of course, to most of us in the natural health world this is unsurprising. Dietary supplements have an exemplary track record of safety. In fact, our partners at ANH International calculated that, according to the European Union’s own data, we are more likely to be struck and killed by lightning than die from taking a supplement.
Properly prescribed (FDA-approved) prescription drugs, on the other hand, cause an estimated 1.9 million hospitalizations or hospital treatments and 128,000 deaths each year. And this is very incomplete data because it only concerns hospitals.
Despite these impressive safety numbers for supplements, the FDA, public health officials, certain academics, and some public officials continue to rail against supplements as unsafe and unregulated, using “consumer safety” as a smokescreen. If they were really concerned about the public, why not make drugs safer?
Nowhere is this more apparent than the recent New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) guidance. Here, the FDA has taken a law Congress passed and has twisted it into what is in essence a pre-market approval process for supplements. Not only would pre-approval be required, this new scheme would also be used to remove thousands of supplements from stores and deliver entire sectors of the supplement market into the hands of the pharmaceutical industry, tied up with a pretty little bow.
And all of it done on the pretense of protecting consumers. Supplement safety data exposes this for the sham that it is—these agency moves have nothing to do with consumer safety and everything to do with fattening the coffers of Big Pharma. We must not let it happen.
Action Alert! If you haven’t already, send a message to the FDA regarding theie new NDI guidance. Please take action immediately.
Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health: