as if inside our skulls, instead of the brain, we felt a fish, floating, attracted by the Moon.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
thoughts on the DSHEA of 1994
(That is a picture of a hookworm, by the way. Don't they have great teeth?)
Ok, so, in Nutrition today my professor was talking about how we all really should know about the DSHEA, because it's vitally important to us as consumers. This is very true, though my fellow students' reactions worried me.
She put up a slide with a few bullet points about the act, which (in a nutshell) states that all supplements/vitamins/minerals/etc are food, not drugs, and thus can't be regulated by the FDA. This is why we see sites like acaiberry.org marketing their "miracle cure" without needing FDA approval, as long as they include the fine print disclaimer. It also means that companies selling supplements don't have to sell what the bottle says it is, because there's no regulation. If something unsafe is being sold as a drug, it will get pulled, but there's nothing stopping a company from selling lactose powder and saying it's actually something else.
Now, upon hearing this, the class filled with gasps and murmurs or horror at this act, seemingly passed by selfish supplement companies. Of course this is true, the companies that support the DSHEA have only themselves in mind, but this act is very important for another reason which I'm sure will turn into a big issue in the next few years.
Recently, the FDA and other such organizations have been claiming that supplements (including vitamin C, zinc, iron, and all the other things our mothers had in the cabinet when we were sick) could possibly cause cancer and other horrible things, and should be controlled substances.
Wait, wait, since when does vitamin C cause cancer? Since when are these to be deemed "chemicals of concern"? Does this mean citrus fruits should also be regulated as drugs?
No, what this means is that the pharmaceutical industry wants to expand its already overwhelming monopoly over what we can and can not use as medicine. If vitamin C is a "chemical of concern" and heavily regulated, of course instead of vitamin C and zinc, children will be given FDA approved cold medicine instead. We will be forced to purchase (and get prescriptions for) drugs we don't need, because the companies that make drugs would much rather us buy their expensive product than buy something natural, cheap, healthy, and just as effective, that they don't have the power to sell to us. Because of the DSHEA, they can't sell us vitamin C as a prescription medication, so they just want to get rid of it.
If this continues to grow as an issue, I'm worried that people like those in my Nutrition class will be in full support, not realizing what it could mean for them and their families.