by Dr. Bill Rawls Posted 1/30/20
Recently, the FDA forced the recall of more than 1,200 supplements from the manufacturing company, ABH Pharma Inc. Dr. Bill Rawls explains what this news reveals about the supplement industry, and shares information on how to find a supplement company you can trust and depend on to support your health and well-being.
Hello, everyone. This is Dr. Rawls with a bit of news from the supplement industry. Last week, the FDA forced a large supplement manufacturer in the state of New York called ABH Pharma Inc. to recall more than 1,200 different supplement products. This recall affects over 850 different supplement lines from various different companies, and includes some well-known brands that are commonly seen on the Internet and in stores. You’ve probably heard some of them, and you may even have some on your shelves.
The FDA inspection found significant violations in GMP regulations — that stands for Good Manufacturing Practices. Those are the standards set by the FDA for supplement manufacturers to ensure both product quality and safety.
The violations that they cited include failure to meet specifications for identity, purity, strength, and composition of ingredients. That means that the ingredients that were going in the capsules or in the products didn’t necessarily match what was on the label. That also might mean that they weren’t testing for contaminants like bacteria, heavy metals, and organic toxins like they should.
The cited violations also included failure to implement a production system that ensures quality of supplements. That means that their operations didn’t have the proper checks and balances in place to ensure that the products were being made as intended.
Also cited: A failure to include necessary information on its production records. In other words, they weren’t following the protocols that were set in place.
And, failure to investigate customer complaints. In other words, they were basically ignoring complaints they got from customers, and they weren’t addressing quality issues.
The FDA also cited illegal claims. For instance, there might be a claim that the product was treating cancer or some other illness, when there was no actual evidence that was a case.
And the FDA had concerns about misbranding, that what was in the bottles wasn’t necessarily what was being represented on the labels.
Now this is just one manufacturer. The problem is, the FDA doesn’t have the bandwidth to properly regulate the whole supplement industry. This manufacturer received a warning letter seven years before this recall, and then there were multiple audits over that seven years. But nothing was done by this company to correct the problems, and nothing was done by the FDA to enforce it.
There are probably other big companies out there that the FDA just isn’t looking at. And that leaves a lot of the onus on the supplement companies that are marketing the products, and on buyers like you. You really have to do your homework to ensure that you’re getting a good product.
You want to buy from a supplement company that has a trusting relationship with the manufacturer they use to create products, and regularly audits the manufacturing facilities to verify that the product specifications are being met. That way they know exactly what’s going in their products. It’s up to those companies that are marketing the supplements to make sure that the products contain the actual ingredients that are stated on the label, that they don’t contain contaminants, and that they’re at the potency that would provide the expected benefits.
Typically, companies that go through these steps will be very transparent about it. Reputable companies are proud to offer exceptional products, and they display their procedures on their website. You know, they will post the procedures that they have for verifying the quality of ingredients in their final product in a very visible location — somewhere on the website, or somewhere that’s very visible for consumers.
So again, finding a supplement company that you can trust is really important. Do your homework, dig down, go to the company’s website. Are they posting the standards that ensure quality products? It’s really important that you verify that you’re getting the quality of product that you expect.
As for this recall, if you’re concerned that you might have a supplement that needs to be returned to a company, you can download the list here — go and check it out.
But know that just because a brand is present on the list, that doesn’t mean their entire or current offering is being recalled. This recall affects supplements that have been made by this manufacturer over the past seven years. So there may be specific lot numbers that aren’t affected, or years. It really depends on when that company was doing business with this manufacturer.
Either way, it’s up to you to ensure quality. You want to get what you’re paying for.
I think that’s all I have for you today. Take care, and be well.