Pharmaceutical companies have figured out that the FDA can be reshaped into a tool to increase their profits instead of doing its actual job—screening drugs for safety on behalf of consumers. First, there was the pharmaceutical company assault on your access to vitamin B6. The FDA has now ended your access to one of the natural forms of B6 to make way for a drug that may or may not ever appear (and that if it does appear will be very costly). GlaxoSmithKline has also asked the FDA to create a monopoly for them on all over-the-counter weight loss supplements. If the FDA grants Glaxo’s request, the only weight loss aid you will be able to get without a prescription is one made by Glaxo which is now being investigated for causing liver damage—and this is after it went through the FDA’s drug approval process!
Glaxo wants the FDA to protect its hold on the weight loss market by ruling that any weight loss claim is a disease claim. Since supplements cannot make disease claims, that would eliminate all supplement competition at a stroke.
Glaxo claims that such an expansion of FDA power is necessary to regulate weight loss supplements. However, the tools to regulate such products already exist. The FTC has the power to make sure dietary supplement manufacturers properly label their products, and the FDA can already address health issues related to supplements, as evidenced by the swift response to the Hydroxycut adverse event reports. The only reason the FDA would have to expand the authority it already has is to make sure Glaxo’s profits are secured.
The FDA has not yet responded to Glaxo’s request. Tell the FDA that you will not allow pharmaceutical companies to hijack your public health tools for their financial gain.