The Vartazarian Law Firm

Product liability issues: Dietary supplements

How many dietary supplements do California residents take each day? More than likely, the number is  staggering. As many people look for ways to maintain or improve their health without pharmaceuticals, they turn to over-the-counter supplements that make claims of having certain restorative or enhancing properties. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the only thing enhanced by many of these supplements is the number of potential product liability claims.

Most of the dietary supplements that the FDA warns consumers about are used in the hopes of enhancing sexual performance, increasing bodybuilding performance and aiding in weight loss. Much of the problem, other than the suspect claims they make, is that they include unnamed ingredients that could lead to serious health consequences for those who take them. In fact, some include substances that are the main ingredients in FDA approved medications or ingredients that do not qualify for inclusion in a product identified as a dietary supplement.

Unsuspecting consumers could experience adverse effects, allergic reactions or even drug interactions by taking these dietary supplements. Other products are on the FDA's radar because they make false claims. The agency has identified somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 products that it says fall under one or both of these categories.

California residents who suffer serious health consequences after taking a dietary supplement may have a product liability claim. If the evidence presented in a civil court establishes that the product contained hidden ingredients or made false claims, an individual -- or his or her family, in the case of death -- may be awarded damages. The restitution obtained through a judgment could help with the monetary losses sustained in connection with the product.

Source: fda.gov, "Beware of Fraudulent Dietary Supplements", Accessed on July 24, 2017

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