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Adverse reactions to dietary supplements under investigation by FDA

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7359.298/e (Published 10 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:298
  1. Charles Marwick
  1. Washington

    The US Food and Drug Administration has been offered a proposal that might enable it to determine whether dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbal medicines are safe.

    Under a law passed in 1994, dietary supplements were classified as foods. This means they are assumed to be safe. The burden of proving otherwise is on the FDA.

    At the same time the law prevented the FDA from requiring that dietary supplement manufacturersprovide information on the safety of their products. The result is that, unlike drugs, dietary supplements are marketed without any effective FDA review.

    Meanwhile in the eight years since the law was passed there …

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