New York Attorney General Sheds Light on Herbal Supplements
The New York Times reported on February 3rd troubling findings for anyone who has taken or is taking herbal supplements. According to the Times, the New York State Attorney General accused, “four major retailers on Monday of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements and demanded that they remove the products from their shelves.” In an attempt to determine the ingredients of popular herbal supplements the Attorney General tested top selling brands of supplements at GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart. The results were eye opening.
The Times reported, “four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels.” The results indicated that many of the pills were instead packed with cheap fillers. Some of the pills even included potentially dangerous material for those with allergies such as wheat and peanuts. “At Walmart, the authorities found that its ginkgo biloba, a Chinese plant promoted as a memory enhancer, contained little more than powdered radish, houseplants and wheat –despite a claim on the label that the product was wheat –and gluten free.
Many may not know that herbal supplements are not subject to the same rules that pharmaceuticals are. But, The New York Times explained that in 1994 a federal law passed, championed by Senator Orin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, which exempts supplements from the F.D.A.’s approval process for prescription drugs, “which requires reviews of a product’s safety and effectiveness before it goes to the market.” Because of these exemptions many of the supplements on store shelves don’t contain much, if any, of the herb listed on the label. Studies conducted by the University of Guelph in Canada found, “as many as a third of herbal supplements tested did not contain the plants listed on their labels – only cheap fillers instead.”
Unfortunately these mis-labelings lead to more than just money lost. In 2013, “an outbreak of hepatitis that struck at least 72 people in 16 states was traced to a tainted supplement. Three people required liver transplants, and one woman died.” Injuries such as these, along with recent evidence suggesting supplements may not contain the herbs listed on the labels have stirred renewed calls for stricter rules on herbal supplements. Whether the stricter rules materialize or not will be left up to the legislature, but the New York Times also points out that legislators, including Sen. Orin Hatch, have “accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the industry and repeatedly intervened in Washington to quash proposed legislation that would toughen the rules.”
No one thinks that medicine or supplements they take to make them better will do them harm. Unfortunately this does occur. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a prescription drug or an herbal supplement contact an experienced attorney at Hensley Legal Group. Call 24/7 at 1-888-436-7539 and receive a free consultation. Our staff can help you understand your options and help your determine whether you have a case. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you really have nothing to lose. You can also contact us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your claim.