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The Latest on Internet Pharmacies, Supplements, Designer Drugs,
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When is a Legal Dietary Supplement Illegal?

Most countries have regulatory authorities like the Food and Drug Administration that monitor and establish rules around food, drugs, dietary supplements, and more. These agencies have their own complex laws and regulatory standards, and they often vary substantially. What may be a legal, unregulated ingredient in one country is a prescription drug in another, and…

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E-cigarettes Remain a Pervasive Problem for Youth

Tobacco use among youth in the US is down, but e-cigarettes still pose the greatest challenge to reducing nicotine consumption among middle and high schoolers. These are the findings of the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey, released this month by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration…

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Kratom: Addiction Treatment or Addictive Opioid?

As mentioned in our last post, LegitScript has noticed a trend to market kratom as an opioid alternative and an opiate withdrawal aid. Today, we’re taking a closer look at this plant, which has been the subject of some recent alarming warnings by the FDA. Kratom, also known as Mitragyna speciosa, is a tree that grows naturally in Thailand,…

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FDA Attempts to Define Rules for Burgeoning Stem Cell Clinic Industry

Recent news is replete with stories about the potential of stem cell therapy as well as cautionary tales about unscrupulous stem cell clinics that promise cures for chronic diseases but fail to deliver. Confusion over stem cell therapy is widespread enough that, in late 2017, the FDA Commissioner issued a statement promising a comprehensive policy…

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Apricot Kernels: When Fruit Becomes an Illegal Supplement

Apricots are a popular summer fruit, but as a dietary supplement they can also be the pits. Acquiring banks, payment providers, advertising platforms, and others should be aware that the kernels found inside the pits of fresh apricots can contain something quite unexpected: cyanide. Some supplement merchants advertise these products as a health cure, which…

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False Cures for Sale: Perpetrator Behind Elaborate Scheme Heads to Prison

The US Food and Drug Administration recently announced that Mustafa Hasan Arif, a UK and Pakistani citizen, was sentenced to six years in prison for marketing false cures that claimed to fix literally hundreds of conditions, including cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, even severe mental impairments. Back in 2009, a blogger operating under the name “One…

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Over 70 “natural” supplements contain ingredient invented by Soviet scientists during the Cold War #YIKES

In late October, Oregon’s attorney general filed suit against GNC for knowingly selling dietary supplements that contain the impermissible supplement ingredients picamilon (aka pikatropin) and beta-methylphenethylamine (better known as BMPEA). LegitScript covered the dangers of BMPEA in a blog post this past May — but what, exactly, is picamilon? An all-natural component of the rare-but-beautiful…

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DMBA and BMPEA: Wonder No Longer About the Nefarious Cousins of Banned Ingredient DMAA

If you aren’t purchasing food that’s all natural, chances are you don’t recognize all of the ingredients listed on the labeling. If you live in the US, you may see potassium bromade among the ingredients in Wonder Bread and assume it’s just an integral part of the reason why Wonder Bread inspires such wonder. Unfortunately,…

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Tainted Supplements Galore: FDA Warns Public About Risky Products

In the past 10 days, the FDA has issued more than 25 public notifications regarding tainted supplements — all of which contain one or more undeclared ingredients designed to assist in weight loss or solve erectile woes. Shockingly, two of these tainted supplements contain phenolphthalein, a genotoxic (i.e., it can damage or cause mutations to your…

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Essential oils: FDA calls out slick operator on crude claims

Essential oils seem to be everywhere these days: cleaning products, cosmetics, and (you guessed it!) the alternative healthcare market. You may have encountered essential oil proponents the last time you had the sniffles or a stomachache. Paid “consultants” (read: your next-door neighbor) market these products as treatments for everything from the mild (coughs and colds)…

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