Dietary supplement market out of control

Nguyen Duc Khan survived a recent stroke after a month of taking dietary supplements he received as a gift from his son – a salesman for a multi-level marketing chain.
When the tablets his son gave him began making him feel bad, Khan stopped taking them. A few weeks later, when his son came home and spotted the unused bottles, he urged his dad to continue taking them.
“He visited me a month [before my stroke]and reminded me to take the tablets to preserve my health,” said the 70-year-old poet in Dak Lak Province.
When Khan arrived at the hospital, doctors told him he would have died had he come in a minute later.
“I don’t blame my son because he wanted me to have good health,” he said. “But it was the dietary supplements that worsened my health leading up to this stroke.”
Elsewhere in Vietnam, more and more people are taking dietary supplements despite warnings from experts about their poor quality and false claims.
Booming industry
Lawyer Phan Thi Viet Thu, vice chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City Consumer Protection Association, said dietary supplements were considered a luxury for the rich until about ten years ago.
“Following the boom in the dietary supplement market, many people have been able to buy products they hope will improve their health,” she said.
According to government statistics, over 10,000 dietary supplements are sold in Vietnam, 60 percent of which are produced by around 1,800 local companies.
Consumer protection agencies have found it difficult to keep pace with the output.
Early this week, Hanoi police arrested three people and seized about ten tons of fake dietary supplements in neighboring Bac Ninh Province.
The products included knock-off Australian royal jelly capsules and other items made from unidentified materials.
Police seized the contraband from eight stores that have been operating for several years.
Counterfeits aside, consumers have little faith in licensed supplements.
At a conference held in HCMC on Wednesday (January 28), Tran Dang, chairman of the Vietnam Dietary Supplement Association, said the number of the products has increased.
“However, there are no new production, trade or labelling regulations, despite the fact that they have a direct impact on people’s health.”
“Anyone can produce dietary supplements; there are no quality controls. Even dietary supplements with medicinal properties get licensed in this way,” he said.
source: thanhnien news


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