On Sunday, United States Senator Chuck Schumer called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban dietary supplements, WHEC Rochester reports. Schumer says the ban should be implemented due to evidence showing that popular supplement products contain hidden stimulants. Many products contain an addictive, amphetamine-like chemical that is not listed on the label, Schumer said. The senator emphasized that the unknown ingredient can be dangerous for users, and that the FDA should issue a recall.
A recent study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis identified a number of supplements containing BMPEA, a substance similar to amphetamine. Supplements found to contain the substance include Aro Black Series Burn, Black Widow, Dexaprine XR, Fastin-XR, Lipodrene Hardcore, Lipodrene Xtreme, Stimerex-ES and Yellow Scorpion. Researchers conducted the analysis after being unable to get answers from the FDA, who found BMPEA in nine out of 21 samples in a 2013 study but would not name the products.
While the FDA has not issued a recall for supplements containing hidden stimulants, Canadian health regulators have pulled the supplement JetFuel Superburn from the shelves and issued a health alert stating “Amphetamine stimulants can increase blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature; lead to serious cardiovascular complications (including stroke) at high doses; suppress sleep and appetite, and be addictive.” Regulators called BMPEA a “serious health risk” according to NYT.
Earlier this year, the New York State attorney general’s office accused four national retailers of selling fraudulent dietary supplements. The New York Times reported that GNC, Walgreens and Wal-Mart received cease-and-desist letters for selling herbal supplements that did not contain the product advertised; additionally many of the products contained ingredients that were not on the label, including possible allergens.
The FDA regulates supplements differently from drugs. Supplements do not need to undergo clinical testing for safety or efficacy, and there has been mounting criticism over the fact that the industry is largely self-policed. Last week, Schneiderman led 14 state attorneys general last week in asking Congress to give the FDA more power to regulate these products.