Big Supplement

Why is it that the people who are concerned about “Big Pharma” seem to to accept that all those aisles and aisles of supplements that are marketed as panaceas for nearly every physical ailment (including age and death), and that cost significant amounts of money are put out there for the good of the consumer instead of to line somebody’s pocket with cold, hard, cash?

a recent GAO report estimated that the supplement industry has grown to a $23.7 billion industry in 2007. Moreover, so lax is the regulation of supplements that it took a very extreme and egregious act, namely the marketing of an industrial chelator as an “antioxidant” supplement for the treatment of autism, before the FDA finally acted. Link

While I’m not prepared to get into any kind of discussion about the utility or efficacy of any one particular supplement, the fact is that supplements are a huge business . . . and wherever there is a market there are people eager to make a buck without caring one iota if they are helping or hurting people. That goes for your big pharmaceutical companies as well as your suppliers of melatonin, st. johns wort, ginkgo biloba, etc.

Skepticism should always be used when examining the claims and the money trail of corporations, whether they are wrapped up in the logos of Big Pharma or Big Supplement. And since the supplement industry gets to operate with little to no regulation, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there needs to be some extra skepticism sauce poured on their claims of ever-lasting youth and vitality.

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