Tell the Whole Story, NY Times!!!

January 5th, 2004

To the Editor,

Your editorial ignores current pending legislation such as the Durbin bill, which not only bans ephedra but also nonprescription steroidal preparations. It also requires the reporting of adverse effects from supplements to be reported to the FDA, as for any drug action. These are reasonable measures.

However, your demands for regulations that “…require the manufacturers to prove the safety and efficacy of their products…” prior to marketing, shows ignorance of the approval processes for prescription pharmaceuticals, chemicals such as pesticides, food additives such as sweeteners and basic consumer goods such as household cleaning products and cosmetics. No industry is called upon to prove the safety of their products prior to marketing in other than the most superficial manner, yet you look to the most innocuous industry source to set that precedent.

The pharmaceutical house, GlaxoSmithKlein, has publicly stated that efficacy for drugs is around 50% due to genetic factors alone (never mentioned in drug product inserts/labels). Ernst and Grizzle (J Am Pharm Assoc, 41 (2), 2001), reported that, “Overall, the cost of drug related morbidity and mortality exceeded $177.4 billion in 2000.”. The FDA only sees those favorable studies released by manufacturers instead of the entire body of research produced. Until the body count rises… The demand for regulation of the supplement industry in a manner which is far more rigorous than that applied to any other industry is a boon to the pharmaceutical houses who have long desired to be the sole distributors of vitamins and other supplements. Current pending legislation can repair the holes in supplement regulation without pandering to multinational corporate schemes to remove public access to many safe and inexpensive supplements and herbal preparations. But then those help many avoid the dangers and expense of prescription drugs.

Please advocate for a universal requirement in assessment of safety and efficacy before you make it impossible for consumers to purchase their vitamin C.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: NY Times

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  1. Food additives

    You can learn a whole lot more about additive regulations at

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