Durbin and Waxman’s Anti-Supplement Tactic Appears to Have Backfired

March 19, 2013
Print This Post Print This Post

facepalA government report they hoped would say supplements are dangerous only proves how incredibly safe supplements are.

A year and a half ago, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) tried a new tactic in their attack on supplements after earlier legislative failures. First there was Durbin’s failed 2011 Dietary Supplement Labeling Act, which he tried to reinsert into the 2011 Appropriations bill, and when that failed, he proposed an amendment to the Appropriations bill that included enabling the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess the effectiveness of the Adverse Event Report (AER) system and FDA’s enforcement action. When the amendment did not pass, he and Rep. Waxman went to the GAO directly and asked them to review AER data—but only for supplements. They wanted the FDA to determine “which supplements can cause and have caused severe health problems.”

As we pointed out in our article at the time, the extremely biased FDA doesn’t have the tools to determine real supplement safety, and if Waxman and Durbin really cared about supplement safety, they would have asked the GAO to look at AERs for drugs and vaccines as well. (We’ll say more about that later.)

Today, the GAO’s report on supplement AERs that requested by Sen. Durbin and Rep. Waxman was finally released. And it demonstrates overwhelmingly that supplements are safe! (Perhaps we should offer Durbin and Waxman a napkin. They appear to have egg on their face.)

According to the GAO report, between 2008 and 2011, the FDA received 6,307 AERs for dietary supplements—an average of 1,575 per year. We already knew this; we had previously reported that FDA received 1,080 AERs in 2009, so the other years followed a similar trend. Considering the fact that, according to the GAO’s own report, over half the US takes supplements, that’s an incredibly low number of AERs from 157 million Americans.

AERs may have increased from 400 in 2007 to an average of 1,575 in 2008, but that comes from an increase in the number of supplements being marketed, and more careful reporting of AERs to the FDA (especially after the implementation of required good manufacturing practice protocols).

The GAO report notes that the National Poison Control Center received 1,000 more AERs than the FDA for supplements during same period; but as we have noted this is still a very low number, and our analysis of the 2010 Poison Control data revealed only a single death concurrent with supplement use—vaguely and probably irrelevantly concurrent with an “unknown dietary supplement or homeopathic agent”—with no deaths reported before 2009. By way of contrast, the same report shows that FDA-approved drugs caused 80% of Poison Control fatalities. More than 100,000 calls to Poison Control Centers, 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations, and nearly 500 deaths each year are attributed to Acetaminophen (Tylenol) alone.

Today’s GAO report says that according to officials in the FDA office that regulates supplements, “The greatest challenge for identifying potential safety concerns from AERs is the small number of AERs that FDA receives related to dietary supplements.” Sen. Durbin and company are trying to spin that as if AERs were being underreported—while the real story is that there are probably very few AERs in the first place!

We mentioned above that if Sen. Durbin and Rep. Waxman were truly concerned about safety, they would have asked that FDA-approved drugs and vaccines be included in the report. Here’s why they didn’t: when you compare the safety record of supplements to those of drugs and vaccines, you can see at a glance where the danger lies. In 2008 alone, there were 26,517 AERs for vaccines, with 3,923 of them considered serious, and a whopping 526,527 AERs for FDA-approved drugs, with 275,421 considered serious.

Government-backed scientific organizations like the Institute of Medicine won’t even review AERs to study the safety of drugs and vaccines. Why not? The IOM says it will only look at peer-reviewed research on vaccine AERs, but won’t sponsor or even encourage any. It then concludes that vaccines are “safe” because there is no peer-reviewed evidence to the contrary—an explanation right out of Alice in Wonderland!

The GAO report also reveals that there were only twenty problems connected to Adverse Event reporting requirements during inspections of supplement companies. In other words, it appears that the vast majority of supplement companies are following mandatory Adverse Event reporting requirements.

Sen. Durbin’s plan, we believe, was to use this data to support new  anti-supplement legislation, but he has come up short once again. It demonstrates that no further legislation is needed, just continued implementation of current law (good manufacturing practices and mandatory reporting of AERs by supplement companies). While we’ve confirmed Durbin isn’t planning to introduce legislation for the moment, that doesn’t mean he won’t in the near future, and we will continue to monitor the situation carefully.

40 Responses to “Durbin and Waxman’s Anti-Supplement Tactic Appears to Have Backfired”

  1. Jose_X says:

    Durbin did the right thing by calling for that study and putting it out like that. He can use that as leverage when Big Money doesn’t get quite what they want or when they decide to fund someone else to try and replace Durbin.

       0 likes

  2. Duane williams says:

    I don’t like the messenger, but he says Gospel Truth!!! Monsanto, FDA (Federal DEATH Administration) USDA are part and parcel of the Eugenics movement, for depopulation, and are in fact commiting GENICIDE!!!!
    http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/farrakhan-feds-murdering-billions-with-frankenfood/

       0 likes

    • tomacz says:

      gentlemen,ladies,maybe waxman and dickydurbin want a nice campaign contribution,a few months backmAAEM wrote the particulars of a claifirnia physician AAEM member ,dr dorothy calabrese,
      she petitioned w counsel laurie l york tx,,AAEM as amicus curiae v US HHS to SCOTUS,,the latter accused of
      refusal to recognize AAEMs competance in immunology,,hence ,,freezing them out of mainstream participation in healthcare, to older folks on fixed incomes,,,HHS and the lamestreamer defenders and allies like durbin,waxman,et al,,SCOTUSs refusal to hear the case is an immense loss to all,
      I might suppose scotus deemed AAEM and the petition as enveloped in obamacare,deferring the issue to this divided congress.

         0 likes

  3. concerned citizen says:

    I suggest that the ANH have people weigh in about their side effects from mainstream drugs. The results should be posted to the article, and the FDA notified.

    Myself, I truly believe I was in medical danger after taking a sulfa drug. I was so short of breath that I had to hang on to the walls to walk down the hallway, to be sure I didn’t tip over. I had never in my life been a heart or lung patient, and never had these symptoms before, let alone this pronounced! Wallking more than ten steps, I was panting like a puppydog. It was scary!

    Then came the research about a proposed radioactive drug which, as it turned out, had the “Side effect” of leukemia! I searched studies about the drug and found multiple European studies calling it “an extremely dangerous drug” while the American studies said oh how nice a drug this is, just the “occasional side effect” of leukemia. How nice! (Not!) I refused the drug and my doctor tried his hardest to intimidate me into taking it> Follow the money…first do no harm???? I ended up wtih a different doctor and a different medication, and did fine.

    A dear little baby we know, was rendered autistic after being given stacked vaccine injections. Frankly, seeing an online image of a baby being held down while he squirmed and held his body in an obviously shielding position, reeks to me of child abuse. Why don’t we all see it that way???
    Welcome to the world, Wee One, is this a good first impression of the world? The horror of it all was that pictured was the doctor, a woman, smiling broadly and cheerfully. How nice for her. Where is the empathy in that?

    I try my absolute hardest to NEVER take mainstream drugs, only as a very, very last resort and in extreme situations. I almost NEVER use them, not even aspirin. I use herbs and supplements, and have always done incredibly well with them.
    Where is the moral in these oppressors? Perhaps we need to remind them that we are all responsible for our impact on the lives of other people.

       3 likes

  4. Jim says:

    EPA & FDA need to be restructured in favor of citizens not big corporations. Any government entity that regulates in favor of corporations like Monsanto, Big Pharma, should be disbanded.

       8 likes

  5. Member says:

    http://www.ThePeoplesBranch.org
    At the core of most political problems is one thing – SPECIAL INTEREST! The system doesn’t serve the people’s interest because it’s too busy serving special interest! The People’s Branch is a modern-day equivalent of the movement that added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. It is a political movement that will make local, state and national government, more transparent, less corrupt, more accountable, less wasteful, more fair and just.

    The People’s Branch will create the ultimate check and balance upon most officials and public servants by letting the voters participate directly in government. With The People’s Branch the government remains a republic. Elected officials and public servants are still responsible to work for the people’s interest. Nothing essential is taken away from the present system. However, something very important and greatly needed is added! With The People’s Branch each elected official’s vote(s) concerning any matter can be changed by a majority vote of their constituents. Citizen voting will be voluntary and may be exercised by electronic means from home or office. The technology now exists that can implement this process. Remember, if you can bank online you can vote online? Citizens will only vote to Pass or Fail i.e. Approve or Disapprove their own elected official’s vote. If the majority Approve their elected official’s vote then that elected official’s vote remains unchanged. However, if a majority Disapprove their official’s vote then that vote is changed. By checking and balancing their own elected officials actions the people themselves become their own greatest champions for protecting their own interest and keeping government honest and fair.

    Only corrupt politicians, officials, and public servants fear this political movement because they know that if it succeeds then their power and control will come to an end.

    There’s never been a greater need for this political solution. But no one is saying it is going to be easy. Yet, neither was the Civil Rights movement or the Women’s Suffrage movement, etc., etc. So, why is it that even though everyone is for better government, the political solution that will systemically improve government at all levels by neutralizing special interest’s control, is yet to be implemented?

    The People’s Branch is a reasonable and non-violent way for the people to regain control of government from special interest.

    To take up this cause…

       5 likes

    • wvhillbilly says:

      Didn’t you know supplements are extremely harmful?

      Yes they are. To pharmaceutical industry profits, that is. And that is why they fight them so vehemently. All the dangers the drug industry cites are all fabricated, but you can bet on it they’ll never tell you what the real danger is. It’s TO THEM!!!

         5 likes

  6. Fletcher R Millmore says:

    How about instead of a napkin, we give them toilet paper? More suited to what they spew.

       0 likes

  7. Genie coats says:

    My husband and I have been taking supplements nearly all of our married life of 54 years, and have had good health and very few sick days! We have always tried to eat right, as my Mother was a nurse, and she knew much about nutrition and always fed us good and we were hardly ever sick. I didn’t like to be sick!! She started it when we were young children, and MADE us eat right! We HAD to eat our greens along with every other good thing she cooked for us. I found out recently, that eating greens can prevent kidney stones!! We would NEVER get dessert unless we had cleaned our plate! She taught us about cleanliness also! She always told me to take good care of my health, and to listen to my body, because many times it tries to tell us what it needs. Usually when I get a craving, it is for a protein that my body needs.
    When my legs started cramping at night about 25 years ago, I called a friend that also knew a lot about nutrition, and she told me that if I would take some calcium twice a day, it would stop. I did as she suggested, and still take the Calcet brand of calcium daily! The only time I have ever had cramps since, is once in a while our schedule gets out of norm, and I don’t get to take it. But if I ever do this, all I have to do is take one or two and it goes away immediately. It also prevents cold sores on my lips.
    The same friend and my Mother could usually always tell me what would solve a problem, and it was uually always a supplement or something natural that worked! I only take one drug that is man-made, and have since I was in my twenties and I am in my seventies now.
    There are many natural supplements that will solve health problems, many of them are even minerals which our body needs. Better to find out what is natural that works, than take man-made drugs! I have seen so many advertizements that tell you certain drugs that are new but are good for you, and then at the last of the ad, they tell you certain problems that it can cause! Natural supplements work best !!!
    Even when I was a kid, the neighbors when they had a problem, would come to my Mother and ask her what would solve a problem, and she could tell them what to do back then. I just had an eighty year old neighbor,….. tell me that recently!!
    The only pain medicine that my husband and I ever take is aspirin, and it is from the natural bark of a tree, like God designed!! We take cod liver oil with orange juice or…

       3 likes

  8. Mike88 says:

    Unfortunately, I am from Durbin’s home state of Insanity called Illinois and I am proud to say that he has never received my vote, unfortunately though Illinois is overwhelmingly controlled by non-educated Democrats that just punch the Straight Ticket lever for any Democrats that run for office without knowing what they stand for or their ideas about Government are.
    It is a shame that these uneducated voters know less about their Senatorial candidates than the know the names of people who are on Dancing with the Stars. Another sad aspect of voting for a Politician in Illinois or any other State for that matter is that the votes after they are cast are taken to rooms behind closed doors, and counted out of full public view and out of view of the Cameras.

    Anybody ever wonder why this is. What are the Establishment Republicans and Democrats afraid of by counting the ballots of the Political Candidates in full public view and on Cameras.

       5 likes

  9. Kathleen says:

    It’s ALL about money – not OUR health! No one “dies” from supplements, and big Pharma cannot say the same! I am so tired of these loons in congress that vote on legislation that they know nothing about. I consider supplements my saving grace to better health and take NO medications at age 70.

       7 likes

    • Brad says:

      I sometimes feel like I am living in Superman’s Bizarro World, where everything is backward! We have pharmaceutical suppliers that practically have to print a book in order to warn users of potential side effects. Then we have natural supplements that work safely and effectively, yet they “must be controlled.” As usual, it’s all about the money. Big Pharma wants to be able to concoct man-made versions of natural remedies and then patent them so they can be offered by prescription for big bucks. One thing I have learned in my 60 years on this earth—our government in no way cares about those who they supposedly serve. And common sense and decency toward our fellow-man are out the window.

         6 likes

    • Gary says:

      Well if corporations like monsanto have anything to do with it,they will have congress and the FDA do away with store bought suppliments unless they corner the Market.The FDA has people in high levels that used to work for monsanto .Hiliry Clinton was a Lawyer for monsanto ,there was also a supreme court Justice that used to be a Lawyer for monsanto. (Thomas )Go to Mercola .com and you will be able to find this info.They also were part of the Manhatten Project,which in some way started the floride in our water supply.Floride is also awaste product of aluminum.It costs more than 40,000 dollars a barrel to get rid of.Just face it we have a completely broken system for health.

         6 likes

      • wvhillbilly says:

        I can describe the root cause of all this in just three words. Greed, bribery, corruption.

        “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10) Always has been, always will be.

           4 likes

  10. Dr. Jean says:

    One can only IMAGINE what good could come to all of us if doctors were trained in the administration of supplements, both herbal and vitamin / mineral. An honest assessment of the benefits reveals there is a place for all modalities in treating the human condition. Once again, education eliminates fear. Because of greed, it is unlikely that will ever happen in our lifetime. And, There is no cure for greed.

       5 likes

  11. Ron Dorn says:

    Government-backed scientific organizations aren’t worth the paper their written on.And for Monsanto,just ask any Viet Nam Vet about their health problems caused by Agent Orange that was sprayed all over Viet Nam and was manufactured by Monsanto.This Company only sees $$ signs. No regard for human life. Ron Dorn.A Viet Nam Vet.:1969:

       4 likes

  12. RICHARD G. says:

    The Durbin and Waxman comedy hour. they could stand on stage and we could laugh all night at two of the biggest clowns in government. we have enough of them as it is trying to run and ruin our country. what a poor excuse for senators.

       2 likes

  13. Dave Clark says:

    Waxman has been doing this stuff for 30 years. Durbin, not as long to my knowledge. Question is: are the people in their districts aware of their ongoing effects to pass anti-supplement legislation? The only way to stifle these people is to threaten their job. These guys aren’t in my state, but if they were, they would be in my crosshairs constantly. Maybe there is a way ANH-USA can educate more people in their respective states, then they will feel the pressure directly.

       2 likes

  14. William R. Sprow says:

    It is a crying shame that these yoyo’s in the senate ( specifically Durbin and Waxman) purport to know more than their citizenry already knows. What a government membership gets us???

       8 likes

    • Tyler Hackney says:

      Slight correction Durbin is the senior US Senator from Illinois while Waxman is a US congressman from California. It is my believe Durbin is a very concious public servant on many issues, but his stance on supplements and homopatic medicine confuses me. My thanks to ANH-USA to continue to monitor this frankly, crazy federal legislation from Sen. Durbin and Rep. Waxman.

         3 likes

    • autumn says:

      After learning how to stay healthy with suppliments- vitamins herbs essential oils and supporting farmers who are the real heros’ I voided my prescription coverage I will not finance any RX nor do I need them.
      The statin poison was being recomende by my doc But he listened to me and I gave him list of my Natures defense/natural remedies for high BP,cholesterol etc… and Stated thats what I’m doing not statins. He was open minded. Within 1 month of supplimenting I felt the difference and by 3 months I was very happy due to high BP symptoms completely disappeared as well the BP reading at his office was completely normal.
      We need to be vigilant in defending our Natural Health Freedoms Act
      Refuse Industry foods and poison. It is with great enthusiasm to support ALL natural products as well as our hero’s the farmers who sustain us Not Industry farming and toxic genetic spliced poisons that are just hidden with mislead approvals based on FDA allowance who are hired from these death industries to approve their deadly produce,vaccines,gmo’s which is a threat to all life on this earth.

         5 likes

  15. NANCY says:

    Keep your corrupt hands off of supplements. Concentrate instead on Big Pharma where the real problem lies.

       21 likes

  16. Joyce Roberson says:

    This is a total waste of time! Why didn’t they include vaccines/drugs/food? Those are the culprits! And these are Democrats? I’m scared!!!

       16 likes

  17. Betty says:

    The whole world is on the cusp of a deep depression and this non-issue is all these two rabid dogs can concern themselves with, AGAIN? I’d sure like to know how much gets direct deposited into their offshore bank accounts when they finally make vitamins go away. To my thinking, Durbin and Waxman are dead on proof of long standing vote counting fraud!

       12 likes

  18. Marty says:

    Durbin will NOT get MY vote!!!

       6 likes

  19. Michael Soudant says:

    I was fortunate to attend a lecture by Dr. Alexander Schauss about 16 years ago. He addressed the issue of supplement safety and told us that a biostatistician figured out that the chances of dying from a supplement were less than that of being killed by a falling meteor. Subsequently I have read that the AMA admits to about 100,000 deaths per year from properly prescribed medicines. Dr. Gary Null puts the number at about 300,000. I happily continue to consume the nutritional supplements that I feel are needed as I consume the biologically attenuated food that is often all that I can find locally.

       11 likes

  20. brian says:

    I am amazed at how thorough a job you do protecting our industry. The ANH is much better than all the other industry organizations combined.

    Keep up the great work,

       11 likes

  21. nelson levine says:

    the people from the states that Durbin and Waxman are from should work to eject them from their positions as representatives. They are obviously working in the best interests of the Pharmaceutical companies and not the people who elected them and should be punished by being removed for their traitorous behavior.

       7 likes

  22. Cinda Wood says:

    I do not think this is going to fly as when the surgeons at Wichita Via Christi ordered nurses to give Mannatech supplements through feeding tube in ICU caused my daughter’s throat to grow back in 13 days without other medicine and this is one the books.

       2 likes

  23. Vicki says:

    Good new for all people who want to order these supplements that help us. I also buy many at Wal-Mart that are very good.

       0 likes

  24. Vicki says:

    Good. I order a lot of vitamins and important yeast fighting type vitamins that I will always want and do not want the government preventing me to order them.

       2 likes

  25. LauraB says:

    The politics behind this needs to be exposed. The real reason this issue will be shelved for now is to protect the DRUG INDUSTRY! Talk about the government wasting money. It’s wasting money on the IOM.

       8 likes

  26. Linda Zigich says:

    The sooner we deal with the ineffectiveness and the blatant alliance the FDA has with the pharmaceutical companies the sooner we can have a say about how we choose to safeguard our health. That right is being diminished rapidly. We need to overhaul the FDA and if that means closing it down, or taking them to court, so be it. They are killing us, not protecting us.

       6 likes

  27. omg! I HAVE to chuckle. What a mess of a country with people like Durbin and Waxman. THEY
    too must be on the FDA death payroll.

    Seems getting paid handsomely by the FDA (federal death administration) is a way of life in the
    PHARMACEUTICAL STATES OF AMERIKA!

    ANYTHING for a buck. EVEN DEATH.

       2 likes

    • Sandy says:

      Correction: Especially death. Research eugenics USA Gates Rockefeller etc. You will find out that death is the actual goal, which is why they want to mandate vaccinations, are spraying poisons into our air, are dumping poisons in our water, and keep trying to outlaw anything healthy like raw almonds and vitamin supplements.

         1 likes

  28. Lloyd Downs says:

    We need a citizen’s over-sight committee over big pharma.

       5 likes

  29. Red Steiner says:

    Tell these idiots to read the research. I’m 64 years old, with a 19 year old daughter who is an adventuresome young lady. We jusat finished a 4 day camping and hiking trip to Eureka Springs Arkansas. I take supplements daily and feel great. I also lift and bicycle. We need to stop these idiots any way we can. They and the AMA and Big Pharma, will kill us if we allow them to.

       5 likes

  30. Bravo !!

       1 likes

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:
ANH-USA provides a comment forum for our readers to share their constructive thoughts and criticisms about our newsletter articles and engage in civil debate with other readers. All comments are pre-moderated regardless of author. We never censor comments based on political or ideological point of view. We only remove those comments that are abusive, off-topic, use foul language, include personal attacks, or are otherwise discourteous and uncivil. Please do not post comments in ALL CAPS; on the internet this is considered "shouting."

 characters available

Follow us on...