A former principal deputy FDA commissioner has proposed a solution to the current gridlock over the regulation of dietary supplements. Writing in Drug Testing and Analysis, Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., and Akshay Kapoor, a recent graduate of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, say the focus should  be less on whether these vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts actually do what they claim and more on taking important steps to improve their safety.

Despite hundreds of recalls and outbreaks associated with death and disability, federal law on supplements has not shifted to strengthen oversight and protect the integrity of the market, the authors point out. What's keeping progress from being made is an ongoing dispute over whether the products work. Manufacturers and many consumers think they do. Many public health officials and doctors think they don't. Calling a truce on these questions of efficacy could  bring people together to improve safety.

Poll Question:
Do you think government officials should focus much more on whether dietary supplements are safe instead of what they are purported to do healthwise?

Yes
68

No
16