Big Pharma and the FDA vs. Nutritional Supplements
"While the idea of admitting that a bureaucracy is necessary, I must also admit that marketers are liars and if left unregulated will rival politicians in their dishonesty when making product claims. Both admissions shake my libertarian sensibilities to the core."First, a free market eventually corrects for the condition of "marketers are liars," unlike with politicians. Furthermore, not ALL marketers are liars.
Second, what makes you think the FDA, or any government bureaucracy for that matter, doesn't lie? If one thinks we need an FDA, then one should think that we also need an EPA, FED, NLRB, EEOC, and on, and on, and on ... further violating your libertarian sensibilities.
The head administrator of the FDA is pretty much a revolving door with Big Pharma:
More people die every year from legalized drugs than from taking supplements, not to mention the drugs the FDA eventually gets around to recalling, after they've already done their damage. In addition, the FDA is continually pushed by vested interests (Big Pharma and lobbied government officials) to cut corners so that drugs can get to market faster. So much for the efficacy of the FDA! So, you want more of the same?
Also, most supplements are not fakes. There is a huge amount of continuing research that supports the stated benefits of various vitamins and supplements -- for example, vitamin D, for people who are sunshine deprived, or naturally below normal limits. Of course, a doctor can easily and inexpensively check this condition, but there is no need for an expensive drug to correct the condition. Doctors also prescribe extremely high doses of Vitamin D for special situations, which have been shown by research to potentially impact a particular condition that is being treated. At least with most supplements, people don't die from overdose, unlike with drugs. The problem is that Big Pharma cannot make money off these supplements, because they can't patent them.
Although the FDA may not have complete regulatory power over the supplement manufacturers, they do inspect factories, issue warnings, and send letters to the manufacturers indicating noncompliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs). Manufacturers are required by law to follow cGMPs. However, just because there's a non-compliance, doesn't mean that there is necessarily anything dangerous to the consumer. For example, an infraction might be "not producing records which included the complete information relating to the production and control of each batch."
Just because the FDA is not given God-like authority doesn't mean that bad stuff doesn't get caught. For example,
"On February 9, 2017, the FDA announced that VivaCeuticals Inc, doing business as Regeneca Worldwide, has been ordered by a federal court to stop selling its products, which were found to contain unsafe ingredients including DMAA."In addition, there are independent labs that continually inspect off-the-shelf supplement products. To keep up on the latest in supplement research, government issued warnings and recalls, and the results of product inspections by an independent group, follow the link below. This is a subscription based service.
If I get a benefit from a placebo effect, who cares? It didn't kill me. All I did was waste MY money, not yours. Or maybe I didn't waste my money; after all, the placebo effect is an effect. Maybe the fact that a placebo effect occurred should indicate to the medical profession that they should do more research on the mind-body connection.
The bottom line is that supplements do not pose the same risk as drugs. Big Pharma, along with their lobbied government officials, and friendly media clowns, are 100% behind a dissemination of false information to create fear in the public, so that further fascist government regulations can benefit a huge monopoly. Don't fall for this BS. Any anecdotes to the contrary can be corrected by free market action.