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Posted October 21, 2015

Imported Supplements Can Be Dangerous, FDA Warns

On October 15, 2015, the FDA warned consumers that some supplements sold at nontraditional places, such as ethnic or international stores, flea markets, swap meets, as well as online, are often imported from other countries, and some can potentially be harmful. The agency noted that health scammers often target people who prefer to shop at nontraditional places, especially those who have limited English proficiency and limited access to health care services and information. 

FDA's national health fraud coordinator Gary Coody, R. Ph.  warned these products, even those that claim to be natural, aren't necessarily safe. Many  have been found to contain undeclared drugs or other potentially harmful ingredients. 

For example, over the past year, has reported a number of FDA warnings about weight loss and sexual enhancement supplements from international mail shipments which were found to contain prescription antidepressants, diuretics and other drugs.

The FDA advised consumers to be suspicious of products that are promoted:  

  • To cure a wide range of diseases
  • With personal testimonials, which do not constitute scientific evidence
  • As a "quick fix", with phrases such as "lose 30 pounds in 30 days" or "eliminates skin cancer in days"
  • As "all natural"
  • As a "miracle cure," with phrases such as "scientific breakthrough" or "new discovery"
  • As "FDA-Approved," since neither domestic or imported supplements are approved by the FDA

To read the FDA's warning, use the link below.