Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: You Got Drugs In My Weight Loss Supplement

This is a depressingly old scam – centuries old. Snake oil is marketed to the public with whatever image is considered fashionable at the time, although the “natural and wholesome” image is most common. In the 19th century there were many elixirs and tonics that claimed to be not only “natural”, but derived from either exotic tropical locations or the wisdom of native cultures. But at the same time these products included ingredients that were known powerful drugs. Alcohol was common, but narcotics and cocaine were also used. In the US the FDA ended the patent medicine industry and marginalized this practice, but the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 has brought it back. The modern deregulated supplement industry is a recapitulation of the patent medicine industry of a century ago.
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