While consumers are frequently unexcited about taking prescription medications, they feel more empowered when they can take dietary supplements. A growing number of consumers believe that taking dietary supplements can help prevent their need to take prescription medication and reduce the severity of any medical ailments. In part, this trend has a lot to do with consumers wanting to take control over their own health. The available of easily accessible information has helped in this regard. But, not all pills are created equally.
Posts regarding the differences between highly regulated pharmaceutical products (subject to clinical trials and testing for safety and efficacy) and dietary supplements are routinely necessary. This is no exception. As part of the federal government’s ongoing efforts to address unlawful dietary supplements, the Department of Justice recently announced criminal cases against three individuals for violations of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) related to purported disease cures. One defendant plead guilty to a criminal charge for distribution of an unapproved new drug and agreed to entry of a consent decree for promoting and distributing the product Taheebo Life Tea as a treatment for cancer, despite the fact that the product had not been approved as a drug by the FDA. Another defendant distributed the product Herpaflor as a herpes treatment, without receiving approval from FDA to distribute it. A third defendant distributed the unapproved new drug Viruxo Immune Support (Viruxo) as a treatment for herpes.
Consumers desperate for help, including Americans facing serious illnesses, sometimes turn to untested substances and forgo proven therapies. The Department of Justice is committed to seeking out those firms that risk public health in favor of profit. Consumers should be too.