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Has Consumer Reports sold out to Big Pharma?

Has true scientific journalism and fair and balanced reporting has been lost on Consumer Reports (CR)  I cancelled my online subscription to CR some time ago after I read an article that I thought gave a very biased anti-supplement review. The recent their September edition titled 10 Surprising Dangers of Vitamins and Supplements just affirms my decision.

Those of us in the complimentary and alternative medicine field (CAM) would likely faint to see an article titled “10 Surprising Dangers of Prescription Meds” but that is the reality and  comes as no surprise. The dangers lie not with natural supplements, but as you’ll see, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the real threat to our health lies with the pharmaceutical industry and the government agencies that protect them.

If you happened to read the Consumer Reports article and are concerned that the supplements you’re taking may be harming you, here’s some information that should put your mind at ease.

Do supplements kill or harm people?

As reported by, the U.S. National Poison Data System says no! In a 174 page report, the number of people killed in  the US by vitamins, minerals, amino acids or herbal supplements is exactly zero.

If supplements are “dangerous” are pharmaceutical drugs safer?

Every year approximately 106,000 people die from adverse reactions to properly dosed, legally prescribed pharmaceuticals with an annual cost of  $12 billion. An additional 98,800 die from medical errors. I challenge you to read more of these alarming statistics on death by medicine in this article from

In the October 10, 2011 issue of First for Women, Archives of Internal Medicine was referenced for this statistic –

70 is the average number of potential side effects that accompany a single prescription drug!”

While the possibility of a reaction to a particular supplement does exist, they are not usually life threatening. The number 70 is only the average given for a drug – there could be more!

Are over the counter medications safe?

In the article referenced above, you see that “Conservative calculations estimate that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalized annually for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal (GI) complications and at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone.” (Singh Gurkirpal, MD, “Recent Considerations in Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Gastropathy”, The American Journal of Medicine, July 27, 1998, p. 31S)  Hmmm…16,500 deaths from OTC pain relievers would make the answer to this question a resounding no!

Who determines what products are safe and what gets approved?

Americans rely on the FDA and the CDC to protect us from unscrupulous manufacturers of  supplements and pharmaceuticals, as well they should. Any one industry or company that violates the safety and security of their consumers must be held accountable. What most  people don’t realize though, is the current system of protecting us is profoundly corrupted. The fox is now guarding the hen house. The very people we look to protect us are now the lackeys of big medicine and big food.  You can read more about the unhealthy alliance between Big Food and Pharma and these government agencies here.

In the meantime, we trust you will  regard these biased reports with an open mind. The US  makes up 5% of the world’s population and it consumes 80% of the pain medications in the world. There is clearly a vested interest by the pharmaceutical industry to discourage consumers from using supplements. As we said in a previous blog, “…dietary supplements are commonly taken to HELP prevent chronic disease. Dietary supplements should not be expected, in and of themselves, and without the synergy of other healthy habits, to prevent chronic disease.”

The choice is clear to me – zero deaths from supplements vs 106,000 deaths from legally prescribed drugs – the natural way wins hands down!

+Mary Bloomer is an advocate for natural health and wellness and writes regularly for Natural Healthy Concepts. Visit the site today to browse a wide selection of herbal nutrition supplements, homeopathic medicine and natural skin care! 

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