Today’s New York Times carries an article about the dangers of so-called “dietary supplements,” sold at places like GNC and the Vitamin Shoppe, whose makers and advertisers falsely claim they are effective and safe for weight loss. They are neither.
In a continuing investigation that has prompted consumer warnings and recalls by some distributors, the F.D.A. has determined that dozens of weight-loss supplements, most of them imported from China, contain hidden and potentially harmful drugs. In the coming weeks, the agency plans to issue a longer list of brands to avoid that are spiked with drugs, an F.D.A. spokeswoman said.
Besides StarCaps, which were made in Peru and which Balanced Health Products, the American distributor, has voluntarily withdrawn, the agency’s warning list includes more obscure pills sold under the names Sliminate, Superslim and Slim Up, among many others. So far, the F.D.A. has cited 69 tainted weight-loss supplements.
“A large percentage of these products either contain dangerous undeclared ingredients or they might be outright fraudulent on the ingredients and have no effect at all,” said Michael Levy, the director of the F.D.A.’s division of New Drugs and Labeling Compliance. “We don’t think consumers should be using these products.”