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Health Agencies Update
May 26, 2004

Banning Suspect Supplements

JAMA. 2004;291(20):2421. doi:10.1001/jama.291.20.2421-d

The government should ban suspect dietary supplements even in the absence of direct evidence of harm to humans, concludes a study by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

The study, commissioned by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), urged changes to the current supplements law (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), which allows supplements to bypass the extensive safety and effectiveness tests required for pharmaceutical drugs. The report stated that manufacturers should be required to report information on consumer complaints about adverse effects experienced after taking supplements, and that animal tests and research on similar substances could be used to determine whether a supplement poses a "significant or unreasonable risk" to humans.

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