Many Dietary Supplements Illegally Labeled, May Pose Risks, According to Federal Report


Americans spend billions of dollars a year on over-the-counter weight-loss and dietary supplements, many of which labeled illegally and lack evidence to support their health claims, according to a report recently released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Government investigators purchased 127 supplements marketed as weight-loss aids and immune-bolstering products. The report indicates that 20 percent of the supplements carried labels with illegal claims regarding the cure or treatment of diseases including diabetes, cancer and AIDS.

Although dietary supplements are not regulated like medications and are not reviewed and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), federal law prohibits false claims regarding their purported effects. Many of these supplements may be as dangerous as they are ineffective; health problems have been linked to a number of dietary supplements in recent years, and some supplements can cause adverse reactions in combination with prescription drugs.

If you suffered harm due to a weight-loss or dietary supplement sold with fraudulent claims, a product liability attorney may be able to help you pursue financial compensation for resulting medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Many of the supplements targeted in the government’s investigation did not even contain the required disclaimer stating that the FDA had not reviewed whether claims made on the products’ labels were truthful. In cases in which manufacturers actually submitted evidence intended to back their health claims, that evidence often fell short of government recommendations; one company submitted a decades-old hand-written term paper, while others provided online press releases and advertisements.

If you or a family member was harmed by an over-the-counter dietary supplement that may have been marketed with fraudulent claims, please contact for a free case evaluation and to locate an experienced product liability lawyer near you.