New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is going after four major retailers - GNC, Walmart, Target and Walgreens - for selling store-brand supplements that are mislabeled and contaminated. Schneiderman sent cease and desist letters to the companies, ordering them to stop selling the products, like Echinacea, Ginseng, St. John’s Wort, and other commonly purchased supplements.
The $32 billion-a-year industry is largely unregulated, and new data indicates that nearly 20% of drug-related liver issues in hospitals stem from these questionable supplements. In some cases, the liver damage requires a transplant or turns out to be fatal. One of the most frequent culprits are over-the-counter weight loss or "fat-burning" pills.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has reintroduced a bill that would give the FDA control to approve supplements for the marketplace and remove them at their own discretion.