FDA Finds Hidden Drugs in Nearly 50 Dietary Supplements Sold on Amazon, eBay
Some of the tainted products sold on Amazon were labeled '#1 Best Seller' or 'Amazon's Choice'
Nearly 50 dietary supplements sold on Amazon and eBay contain active pharmaceutical ingredients, including some prescription drugs, that are not declared on the label and could pose serious risks to consumers, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.
The FDA, which regulates dietary supplements in the U.S., purchased and tested weight loss and sexual enhancement supplements on Amazon and eBay’s websites. The agency found that the products contained a variety of potentially dangerous drugs. Those ingredients could cause serious side effects or interact with medications or supplements a consumer is already taking. Under federal law, dietary supplements must accurately state the product’s ingredients on their label, and they cannot contain drugs.
“While the FDA has engaged in discussions with online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay regarding these issues in the past, we believe they can do more to protect consumers from these fraudulent and potentially dangerous products,” Donald D. Ashley, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. The FDA is urging consumers to avoid the supplements it cited.
What You Should Do
The agency’s tainted products database includes the names of over 1,000 supplements to be aware of, but note that the FDA cannot test and identify all products on the market today. So the agency and consumer advocates say that you should exercise caution about using supplements marketed for sexual enhancement, weight loss, bodybuilding, and more.
If you’re considering using such products, you should talk with a doctor or another healthcare professional about whether the ingredients may interact with any medications or supplements you’re currently taking. If you experience an adverse event after taking a supplement, the FDA encourages consumers to file a report about what happened with the agency.
Editor's Note: This artice, originally published on Dec. 17, was updated to include a statement from Amazon responding to the FDA's findings.