Conflicts of interest weaken FDA regulation of dietary supplements

The New York Times today has an editorial on regulation of dietary supplements and industry capture of the agency. The editorial begins:

The Food and Drug Administration’s lethargic regulation of dietary supplements containing a dangerous stimulant described in recent reports in The Times is a classic example of what happens when industry representatives infiltrate the agency that is supposed to regulate them. The worrisome ingredient is BMPEA, a chemical nearly identical to amphetamine that is added to weight-loss and workout products in an effort to enhance their effect. Whether it does so is unclear, since there have never been tests of its effectiveness and safety in humans.

After describing the revolving door through which industry insiders come and go from key FDA positions, the editorial concludes:

[C]onsumer advocates are surely right that putting the industry in charge of supplement regulation is like appointing the fox to guard the henhouse. Clearly, the F.D.A. should not allow industry insiders to fill key positions.

Read "Conflicts of Interest at the FDA" in full, here.

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