How Safe Are Dietary Supplements?
July 8, 2020 | Pharmaceutical Litigation
Will dietary supplement keep me safe from coronavirus? Physical health often wards off viral infections.
But tread cautiously.
In the United States, dietary supplements exist in a legal grey area. So, they are not always safe.
Dietary health is essential for overall physical health. Supplements do not replace a healthy diet, but in many cases, they are useful or even necessary.
For example, vegans often need B12 supplements, and many older adults, especially women, need Vitamin D and/or calcium supplements.pharmaceutical lawyers,
However, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Calcium is a good illustration. High calcium levels often create kidney stones, and high levels could be toxic.
Moreover, supplement use could give people a false sense of security.
The bottom line is that “Eating a healthy diet is going to do far more for you than any supplement you can take,” observed Cornell nutrition professor Martha H. Stipanuk.
Remaining Healthy During the Coronavirus Age
COVID-19 is much more contagious and much more serious than any other mass viral infection in recent memory.
But at its core, it is still a virus.
As such, staying healthy is largely up to individual New Yorkers. Social distancing, mask-wearing, and travel limitations are by far the best ways to stay healthy.
Coronavirus is a close contact illness. If you maintain social distance, your chances of contracting the virus diminish greatly.
Masks are not a cure-all. But they do provide additional protection, and they give many people an additional sense of security. Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health during a pandemic.
If you do not want to wear a mask or respect social distance limitations, simply stay home as much as possible. Order groceries online and do not stop for a snack on your way home from work.
Maintaining physical health does not quite make the top three, but it is high on the list.
Get plenty of sleep and eat a balanced diet. If you do not belong to a gym or exercise regularly, now is a good time to make some life changes in this area.
Dangerous Dietary Supplements
Since its inception, the federal Food and Drug Administration has had considerable authority to regulate, wait for it, foods and drugs.
In 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. DSHEA gives the FDA some power to regulate herbal supplements. But this authority is quite limited.
On a related note, China provides many supplements and supplement ingredients.
Many of these exports are tainted with heavy metal and other dangerous ingredients.
Yet as of 2010, the FDA had not inspected a single Chinese factory.
Only about a third of the supplements on the market have any scientific foundation whatsoever. Thousands of these products have documented quality or safety issues.
Here is the so-called “dirty dozen” of dangerous supplement ingredients:
- Bitter orange,
- Country mallow,
- Greater celandine,
- Colloidal silver,
- Lobelia, and
The FDA has warned consumers about some of these ingredients, but all of them are still technically legal.
So, if you buy a dietary supplement, carefully read the label. Many of these ingredients cause serious or fatal anaphylactic reactions.
Largely because of the FDA’s inaction, the nonprofit U.S. Pharmacopeia reviews a number of dietary supplements for safety, quality, and verifiability of health claims.
If a supplement includes the USP seal of approval, at least it has been reviewed, though not by the FDA.
Your Claim for Damages
Dangerous dietary supplements often injure thousands of unsuspecting victims.
Therefore, these injury matters are usually class action cases. These matters speed large claims through the justice system.
Otherwise, they would become hopelessly bogged down. Additionally, attorneys have some flexibility in choosing where to bring these actions.
Some courts are much more victim-friendly than other courts.
Our New York pharmaceutical litigation attorneys have considerable experience in this area.
Paul J. Napoli was a key player in the late-1990s Fen-Phen case. Incidentally, these victims are still entitled to compensation, even more than twenty years later.
Fen-Phen caused heart problems, and many times, these issues do not surface for several decades.
Solid evidence is usually the key to a successful personal injury claim, and dietary supplement claims are no different.
Victim/plaintiffs must present compelling medical evidence about the supplement’s dangers.
Rest assured that the supplement manufacturer will present a posse of experts who all testify that the product is as safe as mother’s milk.
To counter such testimony, and establish liability, we partner with top experts in the field.
These individuals are not just knowledgeable and experienced. They also know how to convey complex concepts to jurors without talking down to them.
Damages in a class action lawsuit typically include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Significant punitive damages are usually available as well. Large dollar figures are the only way to get a supplement maker’s attention and force it to change its ways.
Dangerous dietary supplements often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced pharmaceutical litigation attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We handle dangerous supplement claims on a nationwide basis.
How Can We Help?
Do you need assistance with a legal matter? Our attorneys have the experience needed to guide you in the right direction.