Supplements, Diet Pills, Drug Recalls, and Health Marketing
13th, February 2013
Different issues in the field of health sciences and medicine have raised many controversies. While to some, these might seem right and healthy, to others, these are risky, therefore, unacceptable. Issues regarding the usefulness of supplements to humans and use of diet pills have on different occasions aroused heated debates among the practitioners and scholars in this field. Additionally, drug recalls and health marketing has led to contradictory views in the way these are practiced. Furthermore, different researches carried on these aspects, have given forth results, which are sometimes slightly contradictory. Therefore, it might be challenging to establish where the real facts about these issues lie. Nonetheless, it is important that transparency be embraced in the field of health sciences and medicine, with regard to issues that directly affect health of people, who are consumers of drugs and other health products. Full information on such issues must be made available to the consumers, so that they can make the right decisions, with regard to their health.
With respect to supplements, there have been varied perceptions of these, their function, usefulness in society, and impact on human health. While some researches and views point to their benefits, others reveal the risks involved when using them. In an article in the Wall street journal, by Corbett (2011), food supplements are considered of little benefit to human beings, but only as presenting health risks to them. This article was based on a research conducted among specific women. This revealed that women who used supplements had a higher risk of dying than those who did not use supplements. On the other hand, the presenters dwelt on the benefits of supplements. In their presentation, the negative side of supplements was not highlighted with the weight it needs. They recommended supplements for bodybuilders, diabetics, athletes, and seniors. Some of the benefits of protein supplements were that, they enhance muscle synthesis. These also strengthen a person’s immune system, and help in weight loss. The only problem identified with supplements is that they may lead to negative effects, if they are taken in an overdose, or the wrong way. Therefore, there is a difference in how food supplements have been perceived by the presenters, and the article in the Wall Street journal, in terms of the seriousness of the issue (Corbett, 2011).
Another article in the Wall Street journal by Hobson (2011) equally addresses special concerns about supplements. In this article, one learns that not all supplements can be trusted. On the contrast, the presenters addressed the issue of various supplements, but did not bring to the knowledge of the audience that not all supplements are credible. In the article, Hobson used a case of a drug that had been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration, but was still sold in the market, as an investigation showed. This therefore, points out that there is a possibility that some supplements in the market are illegal, thus, harmful to the body. This is a fact, which the presenters failed to address during their presentation. Nonetheless, the presenters mentioned that some supplements in the market are useless. This, they referred to the period of the 1980s, when supplements were a big business. This then led to some manufacturers to start producing useless products, which did not result in the expected result. Specifically, these were protein supplements that were sold to bodybuilders, who lacked the power to discern them and prove their effectiveness. These two cases, therefore, raise a concern about the knowledge of consumers about the supplements they purchase in the market. These then need to be enlightened and informed in order for them to stop purchasing fake or illegal products (Hobson, 2011).
The presenters, apart from highlighting the benefits of different supplements, also highlighted the possible negative effects of supplements. The article by Hobson (2011) in the Wall Street journal also identifies some of the negative effects of supplements. Similarly, another article by Corbett in the Wall Street journal also identifies the negative side of supplements, based on research findings (Corbett 2011). With all these pointing to the negative effects of supplements, it is proof enough that supplements might not be good for human health, as it appears that their negative side is more pronounced than their benefits. Today however, these supplements are in the market, and are consumed by more than half of the US adult population. The concerned regulatory bodies such as FDA have approved most of these supplements. According to the article by Corbett (2011), research shows that supplements with Iron are more risky and increase the likeliness of a person to die earlier. The concern that rises is that, “Are not there any ways through which supplements can be made less risky to consumers?” Only supplements with Calcium are safe, therefore recommended. This raises concerns especially given the large number of people who consume supplements. FDA and other related bodies should therefore, practice their authority, to ensure that manufacturers produce supplements that are healthy for use by consumers. The findings in these articles therefore, put to question the authority limits of FDA and other regulatory bodies, in their mandate (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 2012).
On the diet pills, the presenters highlighted the positives of diet pills, such as being appetite suppressants, altering the rate of fat absorption, and increasing body metabolism. They as well highlighted the negatives, which include heart disease, liver damage, among others. Similarly, in another article by Hobson (2011) in the Wall Street journal, the health risks of weight loss pills are also emphasized. This is with respect to the over-the-counter pills, which are manufactured with harmful ingredients that have negative impact on one’s health. In this article, a research on Brazilian women living in Massachusetts revealed that most of them used supplements that were recalled by FDA. This then according to the researchers showed that these women were likely to use alternative weight-loss pills. Lack of information, therefore, is the greatest hindrance to most people purchasing safe health products. The presenters identified weight-loss pills that are approved by Food and Drug Administration. They then mentioned the risks of weight-loss pills, which are many. Therefore, in both cases, there is emphasis on the harmful nature of weight loss pills. However, one might be concerned with reasons why these weight-loss pills are approved, despite the harmful effects they have on the consumer (Hobson, 2011).
Health marketing is an important aspect in the field of health sciences and medicine, as it is to the other fields. There are also contrasting views on how this should be conducted appropriately in the field of health sciences. The presenters highlighted some of the best practices in health marketing. These include proper labeling of products and approval by the concerned bodies such as FDA to ensure the legality of the product. In an article in the Wall Street journal by Corbett (2011), the health marketing issue is addressed with attention to a particular over-the-counter weight-loss supplement, called “Pai You Guo,” which was being sold illegally in medical stores. This had ingredients that were potentially harmful to human health. The Food and Drug Administration had banned these ingredients, namely sibutramine and phenolphthalein, back in 2009. In this article, it comes out that labeling is important to the consumer, and therefore, all consumers must check the labels of health products before purchasing them. The presenters, who argue in the same manner, also hold this view. Therefore, this article and the presenters, hold the same opinion, that health products must be tested by going through the standard procedure, before they are released to the market. Health and medicinal products should therefore, not be sold in the market illegally.
In another article by Brechka (2012), about the winning supplements, the most used and liked supplements have been identified, by virtue of votes by the consumers. This probably shows that these supplements are genuine, as they have followed the required steps before being let out into the market. This in a way markets them, as more consumers will want to buy them. From the pictures, these have been labeled, and even the details of their ingredients made available to the consumers. Therefore, just as the presenters addressed the issue of labeling, so has this article taken that into account. It is more probable that no fake supplement was featured in the winners list. Fake supplements do not adhere to the standards of Food and Drug Administration, and therefore, most are not sold in public, for fear of being recalled and sanctioning. This article therefore, shares the same views with the presenters on the importance of supplements being approved by the concerned regulatory body, before they are released into the market. Advertising of these products become easier, since they are legal products in the market (Brechka, 2007).
Another article by Cowen (2007) in the New York Times about health insurance, points out that, both government and private health insurance have a common problem. In both cases, both patients and doctors might look for alternative means, if the system does not favor them. In the article, the author recognizes that in the United States, the health system pays less attention to the elderly population, as compared to European systems, where the elderly are given attention. The presenters mentioned the fact that supplements are highly used by people, including the old. Therefore, the elderly in countries where they are not given priority might seek health care from intermediaries, and mainly through the alternatives such as supplements. In both cases therefore, lack of satisfactory health care might make people look for alternatives, which include supplements. Underpayment of medical practitioners has also been identified by Cowen as a factor that might make them engage in other medical practices in order to make extra money. As identified by the presenters, use of supplements is on the rise, and therefore, according to Cowen, some doctors might be taking part in selling of supplements as a way of surviving the health system. Patients too might rely too much on supplements and other alternatives, when the mainstream health care system is quite ineffective. Therefore, the presenters pointed out the level of usage of supplements, while Cowen attempts to explain possible reasons behind this (Cowen, 2007).
The Food and Drug Administration mainly effects drug recalls in the United States. This involves calling off prescriptions and other over-the-counter drugs from the market. The article in the Wall Street journal by Hobson (2011), categorically notes that the Food and Drug Administration had recalled “Pai You Guo,” a weight loss supplement that was being sold in the market. This was because of some of its harmful ingredients, which had also been banned few years ago. Although the Food and Drug Administration had recalled this drug, research showed that its circulation in the market continued. All the respondents that participated in the research admitted to using the recalled supplement, though they had no information that the food supplement had been recalled. This therefore, shows that FDA in the United States has not put much effort in ensuring that all recalled health and medicinal products are made known to most Americans. While the presenters identified the importance of health products being approved by the Food and Drug Administration, they did not address the situation as it is in the country, and whether the FDA is effective or not in its mandate. Additionally, this case shows that ignorance is the major challenge in making recalls effective. For instance, the consumers buying recalled drugs buy them from sources that are trusted in the country, including online purchases. Nonetheless, supplements with no distributor or manufacturer information, and are in a foreign language should be suspected by consumers (Hobson, 2011).
Conclusively, the presenters addressed important issues about different types of supplements in the market today. The other sources too described different aspects concerning supplements, including their effects and circumstances under which these are sold or purchased. Comparing and contrasting different issues in these sources takes different directions, as some agree, while others disagree just slightly. Nonetheless, from all these, the fact remains that most supplements have health risks, therefore, consumers should be careful and not be overdependent on them. This also applies to diet pills. Additionally, the regulatory bodies such as FDA should play their roles effectively in controlling supplements in the market. These should also train the public on facts about supplements, and inform them about recalled drugs in the market. This is a concern because most people with no medicine-oriented education background tend to be ignorant about important health issues.
American Society of Health-System Pharmacy. (2012, February 15). One IVIG mystery
solved, another demands vigilance. Retrieved from http://www.ashp.org/menu/News/PharmacyNews/NewsArticle.aspx?id=3666
Brechka N. (2012, November). The Winner’s Circle of Supplements. Better Nutrition. Retrieved
Corbett, J., D. (2011, Oct 11). Supplements offer risks, little benefit, study says. Wall Street
Journal. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/897002991?accountid=28190
Cowen, T. (2007, March 22). Abolishing the Middlemen Won’t Make Health Care a Free Lunch.
The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/business/22scene.html?_r=0
Hobson. K. (2011, August).Best of the Health Blog: Study: Women Still Use Diet Pill
Despite Recall. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/883831991?accountid=28190
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