A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered some dietary supplements on the market still contained possibly dangerous ingredients found in prescription drugs that were recalled a few years ago.
The researchers purchased the dietary supplements on the Internet and test results showed cases of hidden steroid ingredients that are similar to Viagra and Prozac, The Associated Press reported. Additionally, the supplements had a weight loss ingredient that was previously linked to heart attacks.
The study investigated 27 different products that promised weight loss, larger muscles and sexual prowess. The report showed 18 of the products had ingredients that were not approved for over-the-counter use and 17 items still had the same ingredients that brought on the recall several years ago, the source reported.
Researchers for JAMA explained that pill manufacturers were putting more attention toward profits instead of human health. However, Dr. Pieter Cohen, one of the lead researchers for JAMA, said it was also due to weak supervision from the U.S. Food and Drug Association, Processing magazine reported.
"There should be significant legal and financial consequences for manufacturers who the FDA finds to be continuing to sell these spiked supplements," said Cohen.
According to the JAMA report, the researchers were able to purchase the items from the supplement manufacturers or retailers instead of popular online sources such as Amazon.com, eBay Inc. and Alibaba Group. The products were purchased online between July and August 2013 and were tested in the same method the FDA takes. However, the supplements had banned substances that were recalled between 2009 and 2012.
"Action by the FDA has not been completely effective in eliminating all potentially dangerous adulterated supplements from the U.S. marketplace," the JAMA report stated. "More aggressive enforcement of the law, changes to the law to increase the FDA's enforcement powers, or both will be required if sales of these products are to be prevented in the future."
FDA responds after report
Once the JAMA report was released, the FDA responded with numerous consumer alerts about the tainted items and sent "civil and criminal enforcement" warning letters to the supplement manufacturers, the AP reported.
Processing plants also have to keep strict specifications on their equipment to make sure no contaminates or incorrect products get introduced. Pharmaceutical grade heat exchangers with proper cross-contamination features like seal welded tubing and double tubesheets, can make sure products are unadulterated and meet FDA standards.