NYT Launches Attack on Supplement-Protecting Senator—Just as DSHEA Comes under Renewed Threat


grassroots advocacy(Note: Please see the two related Action Alerts—one on the FDA’s new NDI guidance, the other on the Durbin bill—in the last paragraph of this article.)

The New York Times made nasty insinuations about both the supplement industry and Sen. Hatch, one of the two authors of DSHEA—and got the facts completely wrong about ANH-USA.

The New York Times recently ran a piece about Sen. Orrin Hatch’s support for the supplement industry. The article was full of innuendo about Sen. Hatch being in bed with supplement companies, in effect helping them make exaggerated claims to push their products. ANH got a similar treatment. The paper calls us “a trade group” (that is, a front for supplement companies) that helped defeat the McCain bill. This is similar to the treatment we received in the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) report which also identified us as a trade group.

The Alliance for Natural Health is not a trade group—we are a consumer-run and consumer-serving advocacy organization. Contrary to what the Times piece suggested, it was our activists—consumers who themselves buy nutritional supplements—who helped defeat the McCain bill. Access to natural health products is a consumer choice, and the pressure to protect them from drug-related interests isn’t coming from industry, lobbyists, or Washington “politics” as the Times (and the CREW report before it) claimed, but from consumers like you.

The article also repeats the familiar tactic of conflating a few bad actors with the entire nutritional supplement industry. The reporter was only able to point to a few companies that have made exaggerated health claims—yet made these anecdotes representative of the entire industry.

The article assumes that further regulation is needed. But the offenses they repeatedly point to—exaggerated health and disease claims, including steroids in supplements, etc.—are already illegal. As we have noted many times before, supplements are already subject to extensive regulation. In order to keep consumers safe, the FDA merely has to enforce the current regulations—not add new ones!

For example, Xango juice company is quoted as having thanked Sen. Hatch for “helping their exotic fruit juice business ‘operate without excessive intrusion’ from Washington,” and the piece reports that some supplement companies are making donations to Hatch’s campaign. This insinuates that Hatch was helping companies engage in questionable business practices by stepping in and opposing regulation. But as noted, exaggerated health claims are already illegal, and Sen. Hatch has never supported any illegal actions from this industry, legislatively or otherwise. The implication that, but for Hatch, companies would not be able to make exaggerated health claims, is ridiculous.

The piece further implies that Hatch has hindered regulators from preventing dangerous products from being put on the market, including supplements that are illegally spiked with steroids or other unapproved drugs. This is also ridiculous. The senator has never tried to prevent enforcement against illegal products. In fact, Sen. Hatch co-authored, along with Sen. Harkin, the DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act, a bill designed to bolster enforcement against the few supplement companies engaged in illegal behavior.

The Times article adopts a familiar paternalistic tone—as in, “We know what’s best for you!”—particularly in referring to natural health products as “niche industries or parochial programs.” In fact, over 50% of Americans use supplements, so supplements are hardly a “niche” interest. Is it any surprise that these citizens are making their voices heard?

The article presents the McCain bill as a law to protect consumers when in reality it would have greatly restricted consumer access to natural health products. One reason we fought so hard against the McCain bill was that it would have given the FDA full discretion and power to compile a list of supplements that would be allowed to remain on the market and ban the rest. This would have been completely arbitrary—just whatever the FDA decided to list, and we all know that the FDA is much too close to the drug industry and much too hostile to supplements.

We’ve seen what has happened in the European Union, with their adoption of strict new guidelines on supplement accesses, and we do not want to go down that path. The European Food Safety Authority has sharply reduced the list of available supplements and is in process of lowering the potencies allowed, e.g., less beta carotene than can be found in half of a large carrot.

There are numerous other problems in the New York Times article:

  • It suggests that McCain backed off his own bill because he was concerned about the damage to his campaign from a highly motivated industry. But industry didn’t “rally consumers”—opposition came from the groundswell of self-motivated grassroots opposition opposing the bill, with more than 200,000 messages from our activists alone.

  • It implicitly criticizes current legislation for not requiring supplements to be subject to the FDA drug approval process. But as regular Pulse readers know, this completely ignores the fact that manufacturers of natural, non-patentable substances cannot afford the billion-dollar costs associated with FDA drug approval, because without patent protection they would never make back their money.

  • The article claims, “Just in the last two years, 2,292 serious illnesses, including 33 that were fatal, were reported by consumers of supposedly harmless nutritional supplements, federal records show.” We contacted the New York Times and asked where this data came from, since we have not seen it elsewhere. They told us that an unnamed source within the FDA had given them these figures by phone. No such figures are available on the FDA website. Moreover, in its reporting of adverse events, the FDA does not presently break out supplements from drugs—perhaps because the agency does not want to highlight that almost all the adverse events are coming from pharmaceuticals that have gone through the FDA drug approval process.A federal agency that does publish annual statistics on supplement adverse events and deaths is the national Poison Control Center. Its 2009 Annual Report, which is the latest available data, records only a single death concurrent with supplement use—an “unknown dietary supplement or homeopathic agent”—with no deaths reported before 2009. (By way of comparison, the same report attributed 122 deaths to acetaminophen—an over-the-counter pain reliever sold under the brand name Tylenol.) It is notable that this one death was concurrent with an “unknown dietary supplement or homeopathic agent.” So there was an alleged supplement or homeopathic agent, but they don’t know what it was! Furthermore, for anyone who understands homeopathy, the notion that a homeopathic agent caused death is ludicrous. It is also completely inconsistent with the conventional medical view that homeopathy is just sugar pills that do nothing other than create a placebo effect. Conventional medicine can’t have it both ways: homeopathy can’t be both a killer and a harmless placebo.

  • It states that under legislation Hatch “pushed through Congress,” nutritional supplement companies could introduce products without FDA approval, and make general health claims without proving their effectiveness or safety.” But it is already illegal to make disease claims under DSHEA, and there are strict protocols for other claims.

The only doctor the article cites is Steven Novella. He is president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society—a group which, like its ally Quackwatch, is violently opposed to all Complementary and Alternative Medicine—hardly what you would call a balanced and unbiased source. He certainly is not representative of the high number of physicians who both recommend and take supplements themselves.

We find it interesting that less than two weeks before the Durbin bill was introduced and the FDA simultaneously released its New Dietary Ingredient (i.e., supplement) guidelines—both of them frontal attacks on DSHEA—we get this article in the New York Times defaming Sen. Hatch, one of the principal authors of DSHEA and one of few people still able to tell everyone what Congress’s original intent was when passing DSHEA. The irony is that Sen. Hatch is hardly someone who is anti-FDA—in fact, he has authored legislation to give the FDA more funding!

No, this carefully orchestrated campaign is nothing less than an attempt to crush DSHEA and outlaw the vast majority of nutritional supplements—which will ensure a total monopoly for the pharmaceutical industry.

To that end, we want to reiterate both our Action Alert on the Durbin bill and our Action Alert on the FDA’s NDI guidance. If you have not already done so, please send your messages to Congress on both these matters immediately. Your access to natural supplements is at risk.

  • Bruce Balter

    Get off the false front in the fake issues while the truth is avoided.

  • Truth and Light

    The NYT is owned by one of the largest chemotherapy manufacturers in the world. The NYT will never run articles that are pro wellness, or pro Complementary Alternative Medicine, or pro supplements. Is anyone is under the delusion that the news media isn’t biased one way or another? Once news reporting became a profit center for the networks instead of a SERVICE, we stopped getting real unbiased news. The only way we can determine what’s going on is to read between the lines, look at the sources of the stories, follow the money!


  • Marygrace Coneff

    Stop telling lies! I have been saved by supplements. I was almost dead with pharmaceuticals. What would I choose? To have the choice to choose supplements over medication that has not proven successful or helpful, but harmful and damaging.

  • Joe Spies

    Maybe we all should cancel/boycot the New York Times (are they associated with Murdock??)

  • andrew f kittsley

    Hey, New York Times,
    While I stand shoulder to shoulder to you when it comes to ” All Things Political”,
    you have, uncharacteristically – and unfortunately – gone quite wide of the mark
    on this issue.
    Perhaps you should check with ANH and Sen. Hatch BEFORE you assume to know
    what is going on.
    Not only is that better policy for understanding, it is also the Prime Directive for reportage.
    It used to be the strong suit of the New York Times.
    Please get back. to it.

  • http://www.ItsNotWeirdAnymore.com Laura Legere

    I have tried to submit your petitions on your website to protect supplements, but they will not go through. Just thought you would like to know. I have not had this problem before on your site.

  • Tina Pruitt

    It is my hope that you are going to send something to the NYT refuting their facts.

    Thanks, Tina Pruitt

  • Fernando Craff

    Where is our freedom?, this country was founded on the freedom of its citizens, but when it comes to health, the FDA, big pharmaceutical companies and many US senators want to impose on us their drug “garbage”, so we can stay sick for their profits. IT IS TIME TO STOP THIS MADNESS AND LET US LIVE OUR LIVES THE WAY WE WANT WITHOUT INTERFERENCE FROM THE GOVERNMENT.

  • Marcia L. Ackerman

    As someone with MS who is careful about which rx pharmaceuticals to take and am just as careful about which supplements to take, I have seen the FDA approve a medicatin for MS, pull the same medicatin off the market (due to deaths) and place the same medication back on the market, yerars later, which has now resulted in dozens of deaths. Why is the FDA not focusing on pharmaceuticals that are known to cause mortality? Isn’t that their job? if supplements are at the same level of problem as this MS medication why don’t they provide the numbers directly attributed to that supplement?

  • http://anh-usa,org Standing_Bear

    This is just another attack on our personal freedoms in freedomless America.

  • Steve Novak

    This is simply whining by an industry who wants no regulation, yet can’t afford the FDA to check out their products for dangers to humans.

    You can’t be inspected, you can’t sell. Instead of all this typical TeaPublican claims of corporate omnipotence and, please, POOR widdle Senator Hatch, one of the Tea Terrorists trying to bring down this economy. – you lose.

    No credibility.

    • dez

      Thats what you have. No credibility. Thats what the FDA says about supplements and herbals. Yet they have proven themselves every day, and for hundreds of years, some for thousands of years. I have used Vitamins and supplements for almost 50 years without a doctor or drugs and looking at my 80th birthday in very good health.

  • Louse Wrathall

    It is none of the business of any elected government official nor is it their right to restrict our access to supplements and DSHEA should be respected and left alone because it has worked well.

  • ginger pepper

    The deaths from pharmaceutical drugs is staggering. How about the liver damage that goes uncheckek from these FDA approved drugs? I have taken supplements for over 40 years and they have improved my health. This is a political ploy for the almighty pharma industry to control and charge the people more money for their vitamin supplements. Big pharma makes billions in profits already, so leave out vitamins out of your profiteering.

  • thomas mc dugall

    in my opinion Utah is one of the most loosely regulated States in the country in many areas of consumer protectionsupplements being just one of the major threats. I believe your assumptions of his non involvement would not stand up unde oath.

    Ii for one will move out of this dangerous state as soon as possible. Along with Hatch the state elected representatives in my opinion are even worse protectors . .

  • http://sweetsofparadise.com Louetta Kramer

    I read the NY Times every Sunday and am very disappointed in their coverage of both ANh and Senator Hatch, who I know personally. Can I do anything to help?

  • Laurence Topliffe

    So you are telling us the problem with the article. Are you telling the NY Times?

  • http://www.norml.com Jack L Eich

    drug companies run our country. they are the reason cannabis is illegal. its too beneficial for medical problems,its got to stay outlawed! many folks could use cannabis for mood,physical problems. threat to he drug dealer doctors and their killing addicting meds.

  • Rusty Waters

    I am so grateful that an institute like the DSHEA exists and protects the right of consumers to continue to choose natural supplements to help with health and health related issues.
    I would be dead without my supplements.

  • Trish

    The New York Times, like most media, is controlled by big corporations. They don’t care about the people any more than big pharma and Politicians bought by big pharma. Disgusting! You’d think that some of these big corporations would understand that if supplements are banned, their children and grandchildren would be affected in the future also.


  • Royce Hamer

    I am appalled at the corrupt methods the pharmaceutical cartel goes to to try to eliminate competition. This form of propaganda should be punishable by law. Crimes against humanity since we all need the nutrients available in supplements for quality of life. We did not evolve because of pharmaceuticals but on nutrition that was growing naturally and for the most part plentiful. To treat the population with fairness we need more emphasis on supplements and less on killer legal drugs.

  • Joe Herzog

    We’ve known for years that Sen. Hatch has protected the supplement industry because 25% of all the supplements on store shelves are produced in Utah. There are serious problems, not only among the general population, but with HS and collegiate athletes taking supplements that contain banned substances. There have been numerous attempts to regulate (not restrict) supplements simply by getting them to list in plain language everything that is contained in any single supplement. Hatch has always been their protector, and that is general knowledge.

  • Gail

    All change happens in conversation. Without a conversation about something..it doesn’t exist. The above conversation is in a right/wrong framework. Allopathic drugs are right; alternative supplement/herbs are wrong. As long as this is the framework of the conversation, nothing can shift…it will be survival of the “loudest, most powerful with the most money.” However, the American people deserve better…what if we as a community (people who support alternative health) refuse to engage in the “he said, she said” conversation and only converse about our rights. We have a right to make choices about what we put or don’t put in our bodies. This is an inalienable right. There is room for both types of medical care in our society. I realize this is a tame, perhaps weak conversation given what this article and many hundreds of others are telling us; however, as long as we are forced to have to “fight” on conventional medicine’s turf, we will never be able to progress beyond right and wrong to a place of choice. I don’t know how to make this shift…the only thing i know is to keep fighting as ANH does (thank God!) and also begin a very large conversation in the world about freedoms and rights! That, after all, is the real issue here behind the issue at hand.

  • Margaret Lawson

    Washington leaders need to stick with trying to “fix” the country….and leave the supplement issues alone…..they have stuck their noses into too much now…

  • http://www.allergiesandalternativemedicine.com Kathi Robinson

    I am an adult capable of making my own educated decisions. If I am interested in a new or different product I am unfamiliar with, the first thing I do is research it.The pros and cons is necessary to examine to determine its usefulness for my situation.

    I am also a diabetic. I have spent 57 years living with this condition in my household and with relatives on both sides of my family. The majority of those relatives died before their 50th birthday. Of course, not one single death certificate states “Cause of Death: Diabetes” But every single person in the family and friends of the family know their deaths were because of the inability of the pharmaceutical industry to control their condition.

    Approximately 60 days ago I walked into my doctor (an endocrinologist – tops in his field) and told him he has today to give me some new plan, new method to help me and my condition. Their inability for over 7 years now to show any kind of improvement in my condition, even though I was following their instructions, was exasperating. All I received from them was more medications, higher dosages and more recriminations I must do this, this and that. All of which I was already doing as per their instructions. I mentioned if I do not hear a different plan of action during this appointment, tomorrow morning the entire list of bottles, pills and medications was going into the trash. I was at the point, life could dish out to me what it wished.

    My doctor had the courage and the confidence in me to know my threat was a promise. He did the only thing he knew that may help me. He not only gave me the contact information, a name and phone number, of an Alternative Medicine practitioner – he also gave me the courtesy of placing a phone call to this doctor to get me the appointment. Why? Because this particular doctor, who is tops in his field, knew he was out of methods which may help me. But he also knew I would never get that appointment because this physician of Alternative Medicine had a closed practice to new patients. He had already reached his limitations.

    It is now 91/2 weeks later. I have thrown away 2 of my former medications. I no longer need them. I have reduced 5 others by a 75% less daily capacity, because I no longer need them. I made an appointment this morning for testing of another one. Why – because I believe I no longer need it. This new doctor has done for me in less than 90 days what conventional medicine could not accomplish in close to a decade.

    Yes, I have worked hard the last 9 weeks to make this new program work. But I worked hard for over those 7 years to make that program work also, all with no satisfactory results.

    I will not ever let anyone tell me, or convince me, of the ineffectiveness of Alternative Medicine. This is not the first time in my life I have received satisfactory results from Alternative Medicine, and I am glad to say it will not be the last. I can actually state truthfully Alternative Medicine has helped me three times in my life, all after conventional medicine had failed.

    The sorry part of this whole equation is decisions are being made by people who have no knowledge of the usefullness and effectiveness of many forms of CAM. To even contemplate removing or reducing its availability to the public at large, this is the crime. But money in this country always talks. When is someone going to have the courage to tell corporate America enough is enough. For this one time, we are going to side with the policy of “betterment for the people at large.”

  • http://www.anh-usa.org Ronn L.

    Have you, by request or offering, given these points or entire letter as a rebuttal to the NYT? If not , then you’re just ‘preaching to the choir’ here at anh-usa.org. These facts have to be put out there on public display the same as the NYT ‘s innuendos. They’re smart. They know that more notice will be taken of the innuendos than the time and effort taken to check facts. (who sponsored what, who voted for what, what legislation is on the books , what legislation is coming up…)

  • olive jordan

    I feel the vitamin supplements I take help me keep healthy. I am 92 and have no serious health problems, and that is the reason.

  • Lisa Chrysler

    please, please, please – for the sake of our families as well as yours! – leave us to decide what is best – supplements used properly are most beneficial – this should not be about protecting the profits of big pharma. please use your conscience!

  • doris hochheiser

    supplements have dramaticallychanged my life for the better for over 45 years and I have always worked with knowledgable medical doctors who have prescribed their dosage for me.

  • Sean

    What is wrong with people? They must be “brain dead” from the chlorine and flouride in the water, and microwave radiation, especially the FDA. The NYT is not and American newspaper or a credible source of information. For example; marijuana hasn’t killed anybody in the last several thousand years, yet people make up as many lies about the plant and it’s uses. They see the plant as a threat, when it’s just a plant with many uses for humans.

    When is everybody going to wake up to the fact that supplements have been used long before dangerous pharmaceutical companies began creating deadly and lethal combinations of chemicals called drugs. Humans have been using herbs and natural supplements for thousands of years without severe side effects or lethal consequences.

    The FDA needs to stick to regulating dangerous DRUGS manufactured by Pharmaceutical Companies not supplements. I see advertisements for drugs that all have some of the most dangerous side effects, yet the FDA allows this kind of advertisement on television, how irresponsible and dangerous for the uneducated. Governments have killed more humans than all of the wars combined over the last 2000 years.

  • Joan Lawrence

    This is an extremely well-written and researched article. Thank you. Clearly there is a campaign involving many government and media voices with the ultimate goial of giving all authority over ‘medicne’ (if one can call pharmaceuticals medicine) to the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry.Coincidentally, there is a movement harrassing the organic food industry. There are already raids on health food stores, raw milk and the like and perhaps some energy against growing one’s own food. So, ultimately we would have no supplements and only GMOs to eat. The way I see it, that means illness would rise which would fill the pocketbooks of the medical profession, pharmaceutical industry, Monsanto and all bed fellows. Where does that leave us?

  • Craig

    Please make the list of over 300 substances banned by the European Union that are used in products in this country. Please, truth in advertising is paramount! NO FDA enforcement please!

  • Marie Adams

    Do not let misinformation from the press that do no research on what they print and are antagonist to natural supplements and in bed with the pharmaceuticals, whose main goal is to tout their drugs which kill people. Supplements do not kill!. Senators Durbin’s bill s an outright affront to DSHEA. The people worked long and hard to get the Congress to give the supplement industry protection from such sources as above. The DSHEA needs strengthening not tearing down. Do not cave in to this irresponsible campaign fostered by Senator Durbin and his pals, despite the attacks by the press on Senator Hatch and ANH. These are fraudulent and very misleading.

  • Robert Morrow

    Just why the New York Times does not call for an investigation of the FDA (real name MURDER FOR CORPORATE PROFIT INC.) I understand that just like many Senators their hands are blood stained from the 30 pieces of sliver the get. The FDA approves poison drugs that kill thousands before withdrawn from the market. Vioxx murdered 200,000 before it was removed. Why? the Pharmaceuticals need to reap their 30,000 % profit on each tablet. They scream and holler about the evil oil companies and their 4 to 5% profit. Yet, no one complains about the 30,000% profit charged for the death drugs that are pushed by the AMA/Pharmaceutical trained drug pushing Doctors and all for great profit to buy your Senator. Then there is the 15,000 or more toxins allow to be put in your processed foods. Just to prove a point I will cover one, AZODICARBONAMIDE whose primary use is the production of foamed plastics and outlawed in all most all countries to be used in foods, yet the FDA said it is OK. I sure hope that you like your plastic foam breads and buns. This is not the only one, there are thousands. You wonder why people are sick, obese, well this is the cause. If the corrupt congress with their blood stained hands would stop taking the bribes and shut down the FDA and its Terrorism of the citizens, take the poison profit making poisons out foods we could most likely start to balanced the budget and have health citizens again.

  • http://ANH-USA Shirley Forrester

    I hope you will reconsider this bii as I am alive today with curing my cancer with supplements and herbs and also in Nov last year I had 3 stage kidney failure caused by my perscription drug Lisinoplril and I got all my numbers back in good shape with several supplements that friends had taken for their kidney problems. Please let us make our own choices about what we want to take for our health and let the FDA and the goverment control and test the perscription drugs better.

  • Joan
  • Tim Hart

    I read the piece and I am working my way through the comments on the article. I am seething! I don’t know why I put myself through this! But please go and do it, too. Brew yourself a nice cup of chamomile or linden tea (or take your Xanax–just kidding) and read the comments. You’ll learn what we are up against. (Is this the “left” that is writing this junk? Geez, are they ever ignorant!)

    Anyway, comments are closed, but if you (gag) register for the NYT website (free) you can still click the “recommend” buttons. Our side is woefully under-represented!


    Hello. Our Big Corporate Typing Pool is at it again. The selected typist this time is Senator John McCain. Typically America Inc. / Big Corporations have the Media / Press / NYT typing up stuff for them as well and printing what they are told to print. Sen. Orin Hatch this time around has good info from the nutritional supplement folks. So we see here America Inc. going after a somewhat smaller corporate player, yet still selecting a number of typists from their FDA Corporate Typing Pool. America Inc. seeks to stay in the background as is typical and present the battle as a U.S. Govt. battle with the FDA / McCain on the ice rink floor with Sen. Hatch. Take a closer look as you always ought to do. It’s America Inc. bashing something to get it out of their way so the can get more of their own financial transactions. America Inc. makes money selling prescription drugs. They don’t want no healthy nutritional supplements being sold in America. So America Inc. goes to Our American Corporate Typing Pool – the U.S. Senate / House / FDA / more Agencies and selects which of their Typists will type up what they want this time. T. Jefferson and the early folks did not set it up this way in the Declaration of Independence / U.S. Constitution / Bill of Rights but in 2011 that’s the way it is. Later in 2012 a National Corporate Typing Pool Supervisor will be selected by America Inc. for a four year term. That’s it. Stay tuned. JOHM LONGENECKER

  • W Smith

    This is just another blatant attempt by “Big Brother” to control every aspect of our lives, as the “new World Order” marches into power!
    HELLO socialism. Goodby sweet liberty. :-(.
    No one will be allowed to make any personal decisions and every aspect of our lives will be controlled, by the state, in the near future. We have very little true liberty left as it is now.

  • Rev. Virginia Belt

    ANH, If you ARE a “trade company,” then what I find most astonishing is that there is not ONE SINGLE advertisement on this whole page! Not just no ads for supplements, but no ads, period. And, for the record, I see nothing whatever wrong with getting support for your group through advertising.

  • Linda Zigich

    Over 110,000 deaths per years are attributed to pharmaceutical usage. Under 10,000 deaths attributed to illegal drugs, and I don’t know of anyone dying from supplement use, so why the attack on supplements? Seems big-pharma is creating “genocide” American style – – that means we are killed off, not for gain of power, but for profit. And to think we were after BinLaden. Makes you wonder who are the real terrorists?

  • http://Yahoo Sharon Gomez

    When I was studying Journalism at MSU, I thought that the NYT was one of the best News Papers. It seems they have lost their honest reporting and are more interested in certain business companies that pay a lot for their adds.

    I took classes in later life that taught herbals and other natural foods that heal. They work for me and others that I know who use the natural. One should learn as much as they can and learn what to look for when using natrual vitamins and herbs. Be an educated user. Don’t rely on the pros that make a lot of money with prescription medicine. Making money is their only aim. A lot of drugs are not tested long enough, then after prolems evolve and they are pulled off too late for too many people.

  • Ona

    This isn’t the first New York Times article I’ve read in support of Big Pharma greed, to the point of freely libeling pro-consumer people and organizations. I would be most interested in an expose of the corrupt connection between NYT and Big Pharma. I wonder if it includes a connection to the Rockefellers who own 50% of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.

  • william kloppenburg

    Keep up the good fight!

  • Linda Zigich

    Over 110,000 deaths per year are attributed to pharmaceutical usage. Under 10,000 deaths attributed to illegal drugs. I don’t know of anyone dying from supplements so why the attack on them? Seems big-pharma is creating ‘genocide” American style. That means they kill people not for power but for profit. To think we went after Bin Laden when perhaps the real terrorists are right here.

  • Raleigh

    Pharmaceutical companies want us to take their voo doo chemicals and go die.

  • Joseph C Moore, USN Ret

    The FDA and congress receive a fortune in lobby money to promote the pharmaceutical interests. Can you explain to me why billions have been spent to find a cure for diseases without any cures being found. Shouldn’t some of those billions been utilized to find PREVENTIVE methods for diseases? The pharmaceutical INDUSTRY does not want to lose those billions by finding CURES. That would make them irrelevant. There is a LAW that says: “only a DRUG can cure’ effectively proscribing (preventing) use of homeopathic or natural methods of treatment that have proven to treat supposedly incurable diseases. Many doctors have had their licenses revoked for use of these (alternative or homeopathic) treatments. There is definitely collusion between the government and the pharmaceutical industry to keep the citizenry dependent on a lifetime of (lifesaving?) drugs.

  • Pauline Sokolowski

    I would rather take supplements then some OTC or perscription meds that say”don’t take if you have this condition or that and possible side effects that frighten you when you read them.

  • Laurence Jordan

    My brother, mother and I are angry that the Congress/FDA are again interfering this power grab regarding vitamin supplementation. I have subscribed to Dr. Whitaker’s Health and Healing newsletter for more than 18 years and there has never been any reported deaths from taking natural vitamin and mineral supplements.

  • Sybille Nova

    Evil will destroy itself. They can lie and lie and mispresent as long as they want…the day is coming soon, when all these presstitutes will

  • don

    I am born into this world totally FREE.! I expect to choose what I want to do with MY body mind and spirit ! It is my God given FREE WILL! I will not allow a Government, a Religion or a Medical establishment usurp my power of that FREE WILL! Shame on all who is supporting usurping mankind choices of real nutritious foods no GMO’s! The teachings of REAL TRUTHS instead of HALF TRUTHS about WHO we really are! Those natural supplements are to sustain LIFE and every individual medical personnel no matter what field of their study did study and also took that Hippocratic oath!! Hippocrates taught healing the body was nothing really “MAGICAL” in fact his equation was quite simple healing with nutrition.Today our medical equation is quite complex! MD’s study an average of only two hours of nutrition added to this equation is the POWER,MONIES and CONTROL within the entities of BIG pharma , AMA and the FDA! What A SHAME!!

  • Alma Christina Sychuk

    Alternative medicine and natural supplements are necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
    “Let Food by thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates 460-377 BCE

    Let’s not regress.

  • Robin Rutan

    From banning eggs at farmers markets to banning supliments I see a big rise in drug company dependency and illegal sales. I certainly will not buy my supliments from a drug company.

    • http://noirangelique.blogspot.com Pamela

      If you’re buying supplements now, you probably already ARE buying them from a pharmaceutical company. Most of the supplement companies have already been bought up by Big Pharma. :(

    • Dawn

      Pamela, that simply is not true.

  • Judy Edmands

    My family and I are counting on you to protect our freedom to freely purchase nutritional
    supplements. Respectfully Judy Edmands

  • tekwyzrd

    The article claims, “Just in the last two years, 2,292 serious illnesses, including 33 that were fatal, were reported by consumers of supposedly harmless nutritional supplements, federal records show.”

    During that time, how many people suffered serious side effects or death from prescription drugs approved by the FDA?

    • http://noirangelique.blogspot.com Pamela

      EXACTLY! I vastly prefer to take my chances with vitamins, supplements and herbals than the almost CERTAIN nasty side effects of nearly all pharmaceuticals. When was the last time you saw a commercial from Big Pharma that DIDN’T include death as a side effect. I kept a tally one night that I actually watched TV. There were 15 different commercials for drugs, and out of those, only 15 included DEATH as a possible side effect. 0.o But what REALLY stunned me was that 7 of them included side effects that were the EXACT SAME THING (only exacerbated) you would take the drug for!!! WTH????

    • Natural_Affordable_Harmless_Effective


      In 2005 alone, 89,842 adverse reactions from Pharmaceutical prescription drugs. Of these, 15,105 people died from reactions to the prescription drugs.

      Using this figure above, which is fabricated and exaggerated to include obviously toxic and questionable herbal materials, prescription drugs cause 30 times more adverse reactions and 458 times more death from “supposedly harmless nutritional supplements” which is ambiguous to include obviously toxic materials such as synephrine and low quality fillers and contaminants.

  • Natalie Mannering

    The attack on supplements is an obvious attempt of Big Pharma to seize even more power and control for profit, with no regard whatsoever for the welfare of human health. Such travesties of justice will never be tolerated.

  • Kangen Manna Momma

    In regard to “requiring supplements to be subject to the FDA drug approval process” there’s also the LD50 (Lethal Dose 50%) test that requires the product to kill 50% of test subjects in order to determine “safe” dosage amounts for humans. Every drug that is approved has to “pass” this test. It’s interesting that all drugs have the potential to kill at high doses. I would venture a guess that very few supplements would kill any subjects at any dosage.

  • Robert Polykronis

    Every week we get a senator or some other public official who is in bed with pharmacy giants. The funny thing is, none of them have the slightest clue what they are talking about. If you pay attention and know your stuff, you could see this as plain as day. Anyone see Congressman Henry Waxman in the movie documentary, Bigger, Stronger , Faster? Oh my goodness! And he is the clown responsible for calling the baseball steroid meetings in washington. My point is not about steroids or any opinion on them..the point is that its so obvious that the lawmakers are actually pawns in the pocket of big money interest who dont know the first thing about whatever it is they are crusading against. I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall and see how things REALLY come to play with these law makers. The old American values are gone forever.

  • William Glaske

    Maybe the NYT is secretly owned by Rupert Murdoch!?

  • Bernice Kleiman

    I would love to see a gigantic class-action lawsuit against the pharmaceutical companies that mfg. supplements. They are the ones making false claims, e.g. Centrum mfgd. by Wyeth (now part of Pfizer, I believe) targets specific groups – men, women, over 50 (Silver). The vitamin doses are so low as to be ineffective. The “silver” added about 250 mcg. of lutein for eye health (an effective dose is 10-20 mg.) The same with men’s – lycopene for prostate health, etc. Ingredients include talc, FD&C food coloring, and aspartame. Flintstones Complete (Bayer) has 5 FD&C food colorings plus aspartame. Poor-quality supplements are only found at drugstores, Costco, Kmart, etc., never at a health-food store. Quality supplements mfgd by (not for) companies that specialize only in supplements are not found in the stores mentioned. For purposes of brevity, cannot go into a lengthy discussion on prenatals-absolutely criminal! Much more to be said on all of this. Sen. Hatch and Grassley should be made aware, in detail, of what’s going on. These cos. are engaging in deception and grand theft in my opinion. Would like to see a televised special re the above. May the truth be told.
    Thank you for the work you do.

  • http://www.silverstealers.net Charles Savoie

    The powers of greed are certainly interested in pharmaceuticals and how to maximize the draw they make from people’s finances. There exists a consortium or alliance of big interests intertwined about the apparatus of the Federal government for the purpose of its enrichment at public expense. While the documentary linked is chiefly concerned with what society has used and is using for money, the pharmaceutical industry’s links to this financial cartel are apparent. I do profusely document the presentation, and this will withstand any amount of corroboration.

  • http://none Bill

    Please protect the nutritional supplements industry. They have been part of my life for the last half of my 84 years and keep me alive and active while prescription drugs have created problems for me.

  • KS

    The NYTimes is used to lying. Did you really expect anything else?

  • Linda Rosencrantz

    no to all supplement acts

    • Linda Rosencrantz


  • Carol Lapetino

    Thank you for your work in trying to save our supplements. I use many and know they help me. I know my health would be lessened if I were unable to have access to them anymore.

  • patrica schiewe

    I consider that supplements have changed me from a sick person to a healthy one as I had almost used up my body by age 40 and with the help of alternative medicine and supplements I am a vibrant and very healthy 77 and take absolutely no perscription drugs which have a place in emergency but otherwise seem to do more harm than good. The FDA does not seem to be on the side of healthy living. Senator Hatch is my hero.

  • Ethel Rosen

    Stop this nonsence The FDA with their medicine is killing people every day with their horrible medicine that they APPROVE.
    This is a free country and traditional Doctor’s and Pills are killing people everyday
    Ethel Rosen

  • Larry

    How many people die a year from regulated drugs? How many die from supplemental drugs a year? I think you need to stop regulated drugs from killing people before you attempt to do anything else. This is a very poor attempt to reduce the competition for the drug companies. It is always about the money for congress anymore, nothing else.

  • St. Anger

    It’s obvious that the intent of the bill is to hand control of OTC supplements to Big Pharma. Hey, they’re missing out on a windfall of profits. 150 dollar bottle of Vit C tabs, prescribed by your doctor? Sounds great to them. The hypocrisy is getting to be over the top.

  • Steve

    The US needs Ron Paul now more than ever to close the revolving door between the pharmaceutical companies and the biotech companies with the US regulatory agencies like the CDC, FDA, USDA and FCC. It is total corruption.

    The federal government has NO grounds to infringe upon the rights make personal decisions regarding health. Those with massive financial conflicts of interest to the pharmaceutical industry like McCain should not be allowed to vote or speak on issues like this.

  • nancy newman

    It is pain to see that the US citizens want natural supplements. I used to argue this with my medical brother who now owns an organic farm. Please listen to the people and what they want not the few lobbyists with the money. Our constitution and our law must be upheld in this freedom of choice in America or you will have revolt on your hands and will be the ones that caused it!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405405059 Jeff

      July 8, 2011 Whenever I get a hauicrt I always feel a lot different at first, even though I usually only get 2-3 inches off (that isn’t a lot compared to how long my hair is). No one can tell when I’ve cut my hair. But I do it myself because I don’t have any layers so it’s pretty easy.But anywho (goodness, enough about me! this is YOUR blog!), your hair looks awesome!

  • gary schnakenberg

    no choice ,is big phama plan…

  • Rick Newell

    Thank you so much for your constant review of the “big govt/big pharma’s” assault on our right to chose supplements versus drugs. Keep up the good work Rick. Newell

  • Marilyn

    If uninformed government wants to remove the public access to Health Supplements, we, the public, can remove income from those who vote for such ignorant ideas.

  • Joseph

    People need to investigate the method behind the propaganda. To gain insight here’s an excerpt from the book Propaganda by Bernays:
    In Propaganda, Bernays writes:

    Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of. …we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.
    Also Brzezinsky, in the book Between Two Ages:
    The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values.” – Zbigniew Brzezinsky, Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era

    The lie and disinformation go hand in hand here as the Ministry of Propaganda, known as the mainstream corporate controlled media systematically publish blatant lies in bold print then in rare cases, retractions 2 weeks later on page 42 in small print.

    They hate those who are waking up to their agenda to inflict disease upon the brain washed Amerikan Idle watching masses using toxic food and pharmaceuticals.

    At the end of the day, those who are driving this agenda are eugenicists and social darwinists whose goal it is to eliminate 80% of the earth’s population. Eugenics is a religion to them, renamed transhumanism. They teach children that the are a blight on the land and will soon be charging us to BREATHE via the carbon tax.

  • John

    33 fatalities in 2 years is microscopic compared to pharmacutical related deaths.

  • John Harris

    Where is the action link to send a letter to the editor of the NYT????? 100,000 letters to the editor telling them their reporter did one hell of a lousy job might get their attention

  • dez

    To control the media, Magazines, Television, Newspapers, Etc., by controlling their income, (Advertising), owning as little as 6% of stock and stacking the board of directors.

    ‘only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. …an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information….–Congressman Oscar Callaway statements were included in the Congressional Record (vol. 54, February 9, 1917, p. 2947)’

  • Brenda Kocher

    As one who purchases nutritional supplement, I do not appreciate the orchestrated campaign to crush DSHEA and outlaw the vast majority of nutritional supplements—which will ensure a total monopoly for the pharmaceutical industry.

    Sen. Durbin’s disingenuous “Dietary Supplement Labeling Act,” needs to be defeated. This bill is simply another attempt to limit access to dietary supplements.

    The Draft Guidance on NDIs is Bad for Consumers: The biggest problem is that this guidance will turn a notification system into an approval system—a terrible precedent that will utterly cut off the supply of nutritional supplements. It will also create such huge barriers for supplement manufacturers that it will be much more difficult and expensive to produce them. But of course, that means consumers would either have to pay much more for nutritional supplements, or else risk not being able to buy them at all if the manufacturer deems them too expensive to produce.

  • http://[email protected] Linda Longstreet

    The New York Times article is submitting false allegations about Senator Hatch. Why would the NYT take any information seriously from Steven Novella from the New England Skeptical Society which is a biased organization and has done no serious research on its own. Most pharmaceuticals have adverse effects which have serious consequences to a person’s life. I watched my mother die a little bit every day as I gave her these prescriptions to the point that her liver was destroyed and she could no longer go on. I frankly doubt that the majority of doctors who dole out these prescriptions would take these medications themselves. It’s easier just to write them for senior citizens who have no one to stand up for them. Supplements are meant to add to a person’s well-being and have no real side effects like pharmaceuticals. How could you even lower yourselves to even associate with such a ridiculous group like the New England Skeptical Society. Even their name leads you to believe that they are just a bunch of quacks.
    Linda Longstreet

  • gary kaposta

    The NYT should be focusing their efforts on exposing the biggest fraud in medical history…statin drugs. In 1997 there were 27 million people taking these cholesterol lowering drugs and by last year 500 million humans were using them. Statistically, people with high cholesterol live longer than people with low cholesterol. In the early 1900’s, heart disease was unheard of and the human frame was producing cholesterol. With the advent of processed food/drink, people began to overproduce insulin(Hyperinsulinemia) which damages the sub fractions(Minute particles that constitute cholesterol) of the cholesterol. Instead of being large, waxy, fluffy flakes, the subfractions become small, compacted and more numerous. Due to this alteration, they have a tendency to get trapped in the minute spaces (Gap junction) between the endothelial cells that line the arterial wall. Any molecule (Testosterone, estrogen,cholesterol) that gets trapped and stops moving in the system will oxidize, inflame and lead to occlusion of the arterial wall. The only thing that modulates the size and quality of the subfractions of cholesterol is diet…not statin drugs. The dangers of statins are well documented (See dangers of statin drugs on Google). The NYT will not cover this as Big Pharma is the very hand that feeds their advertising coffers.

  • http://www.church-of-earth-healing.org Bekki Shining Bearheart

    I appreciate the Times’ hard-hitting journalism, but this time you folks have got on the wrong end of the stick. Someone has been feeding you very erroneous information. For those of us citizens who have been campaigning long and hard to keep our right to nutritional supplements, your attack is very poorly timed. I and many people I know have used nutritional supplements (herbs, vitamins and other substances) for years, along with good dietary practices, to avoid the illnesses that many people in America are prone to. I have visited doctors fewer than 5 times in the last 30 years, and at age 57 am healthier overall than the average American. For example, I have averaged less than one cold a year for the last 14 years, and it has been mild and of very short duration. I am very physically active and have a very good quality of life. When I do get ill, the herbs and supplements I take knock the illness out usually in about 24 hours or less. I know others who feel the same way.
    The fact is that there has been a huge outcry among health-conscious Americans against the efforts of Big Pharma and its allies to rob us of our right to an alternative to the drugs they sell. The side effects of these drugs are notorious, and they are regularly removed from the market because of this, yet you would leave us to the mercies of the drug peddlars rather than take responsibility for our own wellness by using nutritional supplements, most of which have far fewer and less deleterious effects. Shame on you! I wonder who is paying you to spread these lies!

  • http://therevolutionbeginsathome Michael

    Leave our vitamins,our supplements and minerals alone.The government has no business deciding
    for the people what they can take to help them selves with health issues

  • Kenneth Webster

    This is, I believe, another attack on our health freedoms. The drug companies are all behind this action, and others that restrict our access to supplements. As consumers, we all know that supplements are better for us than drugs, and for the most part work better, also the more responsible supplement manufacturers have proven the efficacy of their products.

  • j r

    The New York Times? People still read that POS rag? Why? Unless you like being lied to.

  • robert hoover

    If ANH is a front group for the supplement industry thanks to you anyway. That would make ANH almost a PAC and we all know that gets attention in Washington.

    As far as I know though, it’s consumer driven, people powered activism. Apparently it scares the likes of the NYT when the people speak. let’s keep it going.

  • K Luc

    That would really be sad if supplements were so restricted, and drug companies got more money. Prescription drugs are okay if a person needs a round of antibiotics, once in a great while for a severe infection. I personally never want to be on prescriptions on a regular basis! There are so many natural products that do the same thing, without dangerous side effects. I believe that’s true for serious diseases, such as cancer. With small choices, and weaker at that, guess we’d have to travel to another country for the good stuff…

  • Kelli

    Another attempt by the Big Pharma profiteering racket to draw in more customers regardless of the fact that more affective alternatives exist.

  • Mrs. Ed

    We all are beholden to President Obama for making it unavoidably, painfully clear that we all MUST value the gift of voting rights!! His presidency has done more than a year of advanced civics, American history and Islamic stealth jihad classes! If I was just a little younger and healthier, I’d be running for office to keep people like him out. Oh, it’s so wonderful that Mrs. O planted a vegetable garden to inspire fat people, although I suspect she may have fertilized it with Tagro which rather defeats the purpose, at least for me. My point? Controlling the supplement business is just another government takeover in the grand plan to make over America into a Communist one World government with the UN’s help. The Bible prophesied this thousands of years ago.
    The only thing that matters is that you have a right relationship with Jesus, because He’s the ONLY way to heaven despite what Oprah says. “I am the way, the truth and the life; none comes to the Father but through Me.” John 4:4 Just believe that He’s the Son of God who died for your sins then rose from the dead, ask Him to save you from your sins and help you live for Him. He’ll turn you into a new creation and give you eternal life now. Get yourself a King James Bible then ask His help in finding an old fashioned church that still preaches the Bible. They’re a little tough to find right now. God bless you!

  • A. Werewulff

    When trying to send a message through an advocacy group of my choice I now get the following message…

    Representative Chip Cravaack – Representative Cravaack will not accept email messages unless they are sent using this web form.

    Irony that his webform only accepts six lines… hardly enough for an opinion on anything.. I think that’s pretty much a Carpetbagger ‘out of touch’! Recent news reports that Cravaack is moving his family to New Hampshire.


    “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” ~Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland.

  • Max Pont

    1) Write angry letters to the journalist + the editor in Chief.

    2) Start a campaign against the NY Times. Use your nearest copy machine and make 100s of fliers. “Tired of being lied to – cancel your New York Times subscription”, “Why pay for being lied to, stop buying the NY Times”, etc.

  • lone voice

    It’s time to file class action lawsuits.
    Criminals who have no regret and no remorse belong in jail, not in public office.
    Messing with human health is a crime, and nothing less.
    Let us couch it in no softer terms than that, and legally, peacefully and truthfully treat it in no softer way.

  • Matt

    We’ve got to move and talk to as many people as possible. Most people don’t know about this law!!

  • http://[email protected] dukeinthewoods

    It is time to write the NY Times…….I cannot find much in common with their Editor’s viewpoint more and more.
    Where is the equality in this Country?