Media slamming continues with ‘Big Herba’ attack

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary supplement industry, Dietary supplement

Many consumers are turning to dietary supplements as a way to avoid ‘Big Pharma’, but they may be facing a whole new realm of mass production, that doesn’t come with the same quality controls, according to an article in a leading US news service.

"Some of the same companies that mass-produce drugs in huge chemical labs also churn out vitamin and herbal pills sold in bottles with rainbows, sunrises and flowers on their labels,”​ states the article by the Associated Press and published in The Washington Post.

“The industry's little-guy, granola image has been a great marketing asset, allowing it to tap into Americans' frustration with big medicine, big prices and big risks. Supplement makers are dwarfed by leading pharmaceutical firms, whose drugs command sales in the tens of billions of dollars. Yet the reality is that natural remedy makers constitute a sizable business that doesn't have to play by the same rules as companies that make prescription or over-the-counter medicines.”

Quality control?

The article also suggests that although big companies will be more likely to produce a product that contains what it says on the label, this does not necessarily guarantee quality.

According to the Analytical Research Collective, which is quoted in the article, this is because larger companies are more likely to seek bulk ingredient suppliers in less developed countries.

"They're going to demand lower prices, and with the prices they demand comes lower quality. You basically get what you pay for."

The dietary supplement industry has been the subject of much negative media attention recently, fuelled by a number of high-profile product recalls.

Although many of these reports accurately identify some key issues in the industry that need to be addressed, some articles demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the supplements industry and the regulation governing it - The Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

To read the full Wachington Post ​article, click here.For a summary of negative media reports published recently, click here​.To read a legal defense of the industry, click here​.

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