HEALTH

Dietary supplement coalition speaks out against bogus swine flu claims

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A coalition of associations representing the dietary supplement industry on Friday urged marketers and retailers of dietary supplements to refuse to stock or sell any supplements that are presented as treating or curing swine flu.

Simply put, there is currently no scientific data supporting the use of any product to treat the H1N1 virus, save early indications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that prescription antivirals Tamiflu and Relenza have had some success in treating the virus. And as it pertains to dietary supplements more specifically, “federal law does not allow dietary supplements to claim to treat any diseases, including swine flu,” the coalition stated.

The organizations supporting this advisory represent the majority of dietary supplement manufacturers, and include the American Herbal Products Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Natural Products Association and the United Natural Products Alliance.

“Each of the associations and its member companies remain committed to providing the American public with high quality products for supporting personal health and permitting ‘self-care’ choices,” the coalition stated in a joint statement. “Each of the associations is also committed to recognizing that there are some health conditions for which the choice of self-care should be actively discouraged. The current global outbreak of swine flu is such a condition.”

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FDA, FTC take action against fradulent ads of products for swine flu

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission have taken action against Web sites that advertise fraudulent products for the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, popularly known as swine flu.

The two agencies urged the public Friday to be wary of Web sites and other promotions for products that claim to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the virus and advising companies that operate the Web sites that they must take prompt action to correct or remove promotions of the products lest they face enforcement action.

“Consumers who purchase products to treat the novel 2009 H1N1 virus that are not approved, cleared or authorized by the FDA for the treatment or prevention of influenza risk their health and the health of their families,” FDA acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs Michael Chappell said in a statement. “In conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission, the FDA has developed an aggressive strategy to identify, investigate and take regulatory or criminal action against individuals and businesses that wrongfully promote purported 2009 H1N1 influenza products in an attempt to take advantage of the current flu public health emergency.”

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HHS releases television, radio PSAs on swine flu

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday announced the availability of television and radio public service announcements on steps people can take against 2009 H1N1 influenza, also known as the swine flu.

The TV PSA, a 60-second spot featuring Acting Surgeon General Steven Galson, will be satellite fed 2 p.m. on Friday. The feed will be handled by the National Association of Broadcasters.

The NAB has posted a broadcast quality download at this site: https://download.yousendit.com/WnBSMFhqQ0M5RlpMWEE9PQ.

Three 30-second radio PSAs in English and another three in Spanish are available for download at a site hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The spots are in MP3 format and are accompanied by matching live-read scripts.

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