Media Outlets Need to Police Supplement Claims?

by Matt Weik

I was reading an article the other day and while it brought up some good points, many of them I thought were far-fetched. In a nutshell, the FDA would like to see media outlets protect the customer by policing the information they give the public about dietary supplements. My first question would be, “how would writers or journalists who are not part of our industry (or who don’t have any educational background on the subject) know what is real and what is fake?” I mean, do we really think they are going to spend hours doing research on every article to ensure everything is scientifically factual? Have you read the newspaper lately or anything from the media? Not exactly what I would call 100% truthful. “Fake news” is thrown around all over the place these days.

Tightening the noose

While the FDA is looking to squeeze out poor business practices in the dietary supplement industry, they themselves (the FDA) are also increasing their own inspections by visiting GMP certified manufacturers and ensuring everything meets the criteria and standards.

The FDA, however, feels that media outlets are pushing dietary supplements that have no scientific benefits and that when not used properly, can cause someone harm – which they most certainly can. Therefore, they are pointing the finger at these media outlets to be more aware of what they publish as it pertains to supplements.

One area that the FDA is really cracking down on is the weight loss category (such as fat burners, carb blockers, etc.). This is an area where many brands are touting their product to be able to melt away stubborn body fat and turn you into a cover model in as little as a few weeks – which we all know is complete BS, but to the everyday person not in the industry, they could very well believe what is being promoted by the product label and marketing.

Anything for a dollar

One reason why the FDA really wants to crack down on false claims is that media outlets are monetizing these ads. A brand can reach out to any media outlet they wish and run an ad. The ad can be full of false claims and ridiculous statements that could completely mislead the consumer. The FDA wants this to stop. It’s irresponsible to publish false information and claims for financial gain – yet we see it every day across many different industries. It’s what the FDA is trying to prevent supplement companies from doing, and therefore are also putting some of the responsibility on media outlets as well.

I agree that we need to police what information is published today, but I do think that the FDA needs to put even more pressure on supplement companies to stop putting out false claims in an effort to sell their product. I can definitely see the FDA eventually regulating and overseeing the supplement industry just like they do with the pharmaceutical industry. I believe it’s only a matter of time.

 

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