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    Festival Of Idiots #1 - Orrin Hatch For Exempting Dietary Supplements From FDA Approval
    By Josh Witten | January 28th 2009 10:30 PM | 9 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    SENATOR ORRIN HATCH (R-UTAH)Senator Orrin Hatch from Wikipedia (Public Domain)
    Known for his various musical talents and having all his shirts custom made to fit an impossibly narrow neck, Hatch does not join the Festival of Idiots because he lost the Republican Presidential nomination to W

    Senator Orrin Hatch wrote and strongly supported the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).  DSHEA stopped the previous FDA method of  dietary supplement regulation (banning "unapproved food additives"). 

    Now, dietary supplements are not required to prove that they either are safe or effective before going to market.  DSHEA does not allow dietary supplements to make "disease" claims, but does allow vague and unsubtantiated "structure and function claims" like "immune-boosting" or "maintains a healthy circulatory system". 

    The FDA cannot even monitor that dietary supplements contain the ingredients they claim until a safety problem is reported. 

    For endangering the health of his fellow Americans through his legislative efforts, we thank you, Senator Orrin Hatch.

    Orrin Hatch website:  http://hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Home.Home
    Contact: http://hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Offices.Contact
    Voting Record: http://hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Legislation.VotingRe...

    Comments

    Sen. Orrin Hatch is one of the finest senators money can buy . His scruples beyond impugning if there s no lobbyist money involved . Human intelligence and dignity has yet to breach the Mississippi river in a westward direction . The Bush family , the Reagan family , even to a degree the Johnson family , seems to have lost their moral sense of good crossing the mighty Miss .We ve been plagued in recent decades with the southern type of pultroon in politics and I guess the west is the new cradle of the politically stillborn .

    jtwitten
    I live west of the Mississippi (approximately 10 miles).  This creates a bit of a dilemma.  How can I recognize Hatch's foolishness from my disadvantaged geographic position?  Perhaps it is more of a diffusion problem than a firm barrier?  Doesn't this imply that human dignity could be leaking in north of Lake Itasca in Canada?
    Orrin Hatch hales (originally) from the fine state of Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, born and bred.

    Its a really GOOD thing that dietary supplements are FDA exempt, proof the effectiveness of a supplement takes 100 millions of dollars, and many years, to go though the regulatory process. Most supplements are generic, have no owners or share holders to pay for such a process. If dietry supplement were to come under the FDA process, suddenly, thousands of health food products, many of which have reasonable evidence of being helpful to health, and which are reasonably cheap, are suddenly off the market. This would make a lot of people less healthy, and to what end.

    jtwitten
    They also do not have to prove safety before going to market.  The lack of regulations also means that oversight to make sure these products meet minimal standards is poor.

    Your argument is wanting it both ways.  You do not want to prove the efficacy of the supplements, but you want to advertise them based on those "supposed" benefits. 

    The tragic irony in all of this is the reason for the FDA's creation was to certify and protect us all from snake oil vendors and landmark cases of utterly toxic (eg radioactive) elements branded and sold as health elixirs. How and why these loopholes have expanded and circumvented any rational guidelines for public safety is tragic.

    Understandably the argument for some "as yet unproven" herbal folk remedies being marketed as "hearsay" products only increases the risks for the consumer and rewards for the charlatans.

    Medical weight loss under physician supervision continues to be the only legitimate form of prescribed weight loss supplements. We are often engaged in detangling the myths of "exotic elixirs" and the dangers poised by them:
    jtwitten
    While I obviously agree with your arguments about "health elixirs" and the unethical approaches taken by the woonackerists, I am not in the habit of allowing commenters, whether they agree with me or not, to post links to their own sites of business in the comment threads.
    There is a good reason to exempt supplements from FDA approval. FDA's 'experts' typically have consulting contracts with the same drug companies they are supposed to monitor. This creates a conflict of interest. The FDA has been known to act on behalf of drug companies and against the public interest on many occasions.

    As an example, the FDA ruled last year that the hormone estriol could not be used in estrogen medications customized for women by compounding pharmacies. Estriol is a component of 90 percent or more of customized preparations for bioidentical hormones. The FDA action was in response to a "citizen petition" filed by the giant drug maker Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Wyeth is the maker of Premarin and Prempro, two hormone treatments for women that have been linked to cancer, heart disease and stroke by a 2002 Women's Health Initiative, National Institute of Health (NIH) study. Millions of women have discontinued taking Wyeth's hormone products as a result of the WHI study, which was halted because of the serious health risks that were discovered in 2002. The FDA succumbed to pressure from Wyeth in its attempt to clear the market of safer alternatives to its unsafe products.

    The drug companies face competition from supplement companies and could easily use the FDA to help them in trying to ban supplements that compete with lucrative drugs.

    jtwitten
    Outside of the fallacious argument that supplements should not have to prove efficacy because the FDA is perceived as bias, how exactly does a story about the FDA removing an unsafe hormone therapy from the market support your position? "Bioidentical hormones" have the same or greater risks (as their production is unregulated and quality is not controlled) as regular hormone treatments. There is no evidence that "bioidentical" estriol is safer than regular estriol.

    I have no pity for the perceived loss of competitive advantage by companies that are willing to sell products that have not been tested for safety or efficacy to the public. I have little pity for drug companies, but at least they are forced to support their claims with evidence.