Buttle's World

28 June, 2009

Snorting Zinc

Filed under: Posts — clgood @ 9:58

The Zicam stink.

The moral? If you’re going to sell homeopathic medicine – and boy, is it a lucrative business – make sure that you don’t put anything in there except sterile water. That’ll cut down on your expenses, too, since most ingredients cost more than water, anyway. Stick with that strategy, and you can be absolutely sure that nothing bad will happen to your customers. Nothing good will happen to them either, but they won’t know that. When their cold/headache/whatever goes away of its own accord, they’ll ascribe it to your miracle product. Sit back and profit! Be sure to thank Senator Hatch while you count your money, though – it’s only proper.

Orrin Hatch has done a lot of stupid things, but his part in exempting “dietary supplements” from FDA approval is one of the stupidest. He has damaged the health of who knows how many Americans just so his buddies could sell snake oil.

His argument sounds libertarian:

So Hatch fired back at the IOC, saying that athletes could not blame their bad drug tests on him, or on the supplement industry, which he claimed was properly regulated in the U.S. “I am tired of this childish finger-pointing,” Hatch said. “The last time I checked, neither the prince nor the athletes were experts in food and drug law.”

I’d argue that policing the science behind medicine is part of the “referee” function of government. The FDA doesn’t ban anything, it simply provides a gating function for what claims people can make for their products. You want to claim a drug cures a specific disease? Fine. Just follow the steps needed to show efficacy and safety. The claims for “dietary supplements” range from useless and vague to outright lies, usually tending toward the latter. Confusion will naturally result when quack pills are placed on shelves next to FDA-approved medicines. Every customer can’t be an expert in food and drugs, either.

Actions have consequences.

Thanks to Hatch, the U.S. now has standards as low as those in many Third World countries for the sale of many products with serious, pharmacological effects. The results have been deadly. Between 1993 and 1998, the FDA linked at least 184 deaths to dietary supplements, which are now suspected of contributing to the sudden deaths of three football players in August.

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1 Comment »

  1. Who bases their food and drug intake on advertising? There’s plenty of information available if you want to research the efficacy of a substance.

    Comment by thebastidge — 29 June, 2009 @ 11:53


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