Many consumers who cannot afford or tolerate certain prescription drugs turn to herbals and dietary supplements to address their health needs. While there are many legitimate dietary supplement products on the market, some of these products are inappropriately and fraudulently marketed as “all natural” alternatives to leading prescription drugs.
These products claim to treat a variety of conditions including erectile dysfunction, or claim to enhance weight loss, bodybuilding and athletic performance. Many experts and responsible members of the herb and dietary supplement industry have known for years that these fraudulent products derived their “amazing effects” from undisclosed levels of prescription pharmaceutical drugs. However, until recently, they were powerless to take action due to the lack of adequate enforcement by government agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These products are intentionally adulterated or “tainted” with active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs, as commonly referred to in the legitimate sectors of the dietary supplement industry. For example, drugs like sibutramine (the ingredient sold as Meridia®) have been found in products sold for weight loss; sildenafil (Viagra®) and related compounds for erectile dysfunction have been found in male enhancement products; and bodybuilding and performance-enhancement products have been spiked with illegal steroids.