Health Topics

Fraudulent Supplements
Dr. Heather Boyd-Roberts

Quality issues from China, corruption, Amazon fraud, and numerous circulating theories on what is happening in our world right now May 2020. Our world has changed. I find I have become a skeptic. This applies to the world at large and to my world of medicine.

I have been practicing for 25 years. Over that time I have seen incredible growth in the natural health field. The global supplement market in 2015 was $112 billion dollars. With those kind of potential profits you start to attract the attention of those that are involved in unscrupulous business practices.

This has created many dangers involving online purchasing of supplements and why I question most of the online retailer. Price will often win over quality. Here are a number of issues in the marketplace today and why I have established a safe place to order online.

Lack of Integrity in the Marketplace.The supplement industry has little regulation and essentially operates based on the honor code. While this is problematic we don’t want to give this control over to the present regulatory bodies because each supplement would require millions of dollars in double blind studies, similar to pharmaceuticals. This would put high quality smaller companies out of business and take the control of our health away from consumers and place it into the hands of corporate America. Not something you or I would like. We would end up with higher prices and lower quality.

Third Party Sellers.Most online sales are done through third party sellers. This means a company buys the product, it is stored on a shelf in a large warehouse where temperature controls and other environmental factors are not monitored, and then it is shipped to you without concern of the care of the product. This is damaging for most supplements, but especially damaging to probiotics, liposomal products and oils such as fish and other Omega3 oils. If the product started out ok, it may be significantly damaged in quality by the time it arrives at your door. Wellevate has high quality control. Their warehouse is temperature controlled, they purchase directly from the vendor, expiration dates are monitored, and the original labels are on the bottles. They are not re-labeled with alternative information.

Out Right Corruption in the form of Counterfeiters.Just because the label looks like the original product, doesn’t mean what is inside the bottle is what the label claims. In an article in Forbes, “ The Place Where American Dreams Are Stolen by Chinese Counterfeits,” journalists found that 25% of Amazon’s marketplace are Chinese knockoffs, and that is just what is coming from China. They steal pictures and marketing promotions from legitimate manufacturers, produce a less quality product at half the cost and then sell it as the original. Amazons protocol, for the legitimate business owner to correct this problem, is for the owner to buy the counterfeit product from the corrupt seller to prove it is not theirs. This is itself is a lot to swallow. You have to pay your personal thief. One company did just that. Xymogen, a professional medical supplement company, purchased back $250,000 of their own product from Amazon. They found over 20% of their product was damaged, expired, or counterfeit. Sadly, even when these counterfeits are reported to Amazon they are not always taken down and if they are a new one easily pop right back up. Counterfeit companies are shutting down small legitimate business and ruining the livelihoods of the everyday Americans. I hope consumers can stop supporting this practice and buy from legitimate business owners.

Even the Retail Market is not Safe. New York State attorney generals office accused GNC, Walgreens, Walmart, and Target of selling “fraudulent and potentially dangerous” supplements. Here were a few charges:

- Walgreens ginseng supplement contained only rice and garlic.
- GNC supplement contained ingredients that were not on the label including peanut and soy which were potentially life threatening for some.
- Target six supplements did not contain the main ingredient of the supplement. They contained peas, carrots, rice and beans.
- Other online male enhancement supplements were found to contain Viagra. They were asked to stop the manufacturing of it and 6 months later they were still selling their product
- Dateline aired a show where they tested several multivitamins that were found to not have the levels listed on the labels and some items were even missing. They also tested a number of St Johns Wort supplements and found none of them contained actual St Johns Wort.

The place I recommend that you purchase from is either directly from A Natural Choice through phone call or email or throughWellevate. Wellevate is an online seller that is used by physicians so the quality control is more tightly monitored. You can click Here to set up a free account. I created a video to help you navigate. Once your account is set up it is easy to refill and you can even set up an auto order to make sure you never run out.