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Supplements Illegally Labeled

Filed October 3rd, 2012 Laurie

An article by the Associated Press (AP) says that dozens of weight loss and immune system supplements on the market are illegally labeled and their health claims are not scientifically proven.

The Department of Health and Human Service’s inspector general was to release the report today, which found that 20% of the 127 weight loss and immune system supplements investigators purchased online and in retail stores nationwide carried labels that made illegal claims to cure or treat disease, the AP reported.

Some of the supplement labels claim the product could cure or prevent diabetes or cancer, or help people with HIV or AIDS. Such claims are strictly prohibited under federal law. The report concluded that consumers could be putting their health and lives at risk by using the products, according to the AP report.

“Consumers rely on a supplement’s claims to determine whether the product will provide a desired effect, such as weight loss or immune support,” the report said, wrote the AP. “Supplements that make disease claims could mislead consumers into using them as replacements for prescription drugs or other treatments for medical conditions, with potentially dangerous results.”

Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not required to review supplement companies’ scientific evidence for most of their products’ purported health benefits before they are sold. The Office of Inspector General found that when companies did submit scientific evidence for their products, it often fell far short of the agency’s recommendations, said the AP.

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