Some horrendous claims of herbal supplements may kill you…

in CME/Medicine/Orthopedics by

It’s not only irritating to hear horrendous “cure all” claims of some food supplements manufacturers and advertisers about their “drug” but the lack of advertisement control also nauseates me to no end. The sickening charade of food supplements jumping out of nowhere and claiming to heal all kinds of human afflictions thinkable (just so they can corner the poor man’s pocket) is staggering to say at least. Taking these supplements at advertisement value is already one big step to your sick bed. Deceiving someone with false hopes and killing the patient in the process is another “crime” worthy of harakiri.
(Photo taken from Science Blogs.)

In almost everyday that I listen to the radio, some airtime (at times lasting a full 15 minute!) is spent on miracle cure throttled by exaggerated personal testaments of complete strangers.

What happened to “PANA: Truth in advertising?” or the KBP’s commitment to “Nothing but the truth, so help us GOD?”

Here’s BFAD guides on how to spot false claims by these unscrupulous supplement manufacturers.

  1. The product is advertised as a quick and effective cure-all for a wide range of illness.
  2. Certain key words like “scientific breakthrough, miracle cure, all natural without side-effects or ancient remedy” are used.
  3. The promote claims that medical professionals and scientists have conspired to suppress the product.
  4. Adverts contain undocumented, anecdotal cases, but with amazing results. No science involved.
  5. These products sell falls hope for extreme physical attractiveness and shortcuts to weight loss. They will never emphasize the value of healthy lifestyles, like avoiding smoking, excess drinking of alcohol, eating appropriately, adequate rest and sleep, and regular exercise.
  6. Remember that legitimate health supplement products will never carry claims for quick cures; claims such as cancer prevention, good for arthritis, good for diabetes or good for hypertension, should be high suspect.
  7. The product is advertised as available from only one source.
  8. There is a money-back guarantee promise.

The usual excuse laid for such drug supplements goes along the lines of herbal medicine being natural and hence, is the best form treatment. Another sad excuse propagated by these unscrupulous manufacturers and advertisers is the soaring prices of BFAD certified drugs. Both of these excuse “prompts” the ignorant listener to buy the cheaper, food supplements that claims healing every imaginable human disease yet lacking in rigorous scientific testing! It’s like jumping on a plane hoping your jacket will save you (it may even get tangled in the plane’s props) instead of your chutes. Stupidity does have its additive effect remember. It might not only rob you of your hard earned money but it may sometimes kill you or your patient!

To argue that some drugs or supplements need not pass rigid testing to be effective is an outright lie. Often, these are Russian Rolette type solution to a worsening health economics. Licensing and BFAD approval of any drug aims at at least two basic goals. Rigid and scientific testing makes sure the quality and quantity of any drug is not only safe for human consumption but should also be effective against the illness(es) it claims to combat.

At the very least, any drug must be tested for its safety profile and efficacy. Remove the first and your taking in a poison. Any dubious drug efficacy even in rigorous scientifically studied drugs, is nothing but pure waste of money. Take out both, and you make yourself poor on your way to your deathbed.

One (or two) person’s testimony, no matter how famous that person, is not tantamount to a safe and effective medicine.Some physicians or physician’s name is even attached to these claims. In the current recommended evidence based approach to treatment and procedures, anecdotal testimonies ranks the lowest in the strength of evidence.

Now would you want any food supplement giving you all these complications? Would you even dare to give food supplement to someone you love and risk losing his life base on false claims?

Think again…

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (