There are hundreds of weight-loss products on the market today, many of them promising unbelievable weight-loss results. The important thing to understand is that these are dietary supplements -- not drugs -- and the FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering either prescription or over-the-counter drug products.
Whereas weight-loss drugs must be approved by the FDA before they can be sold, the diet supplement manufacturers generally do not have to even register their weight-loss products and herbal supplements with the FDA before selling them. Nor does the FDA test tweight-loss supplements for safety, efficacy, or even quality control.
While the FDA provides some after-the-fact oversight (monitoring reports of adverse events, and taking action against unsafe supplements after they reach the market), the outrageous advertising for many weight-loss supplements is subject to regulation not by the FDA but by the Federal Trade Commission.
While in theory the FTC requires that advertising be truthful and not misleading, and that advertisers must have adequate substantiation for all product claims, the marketing-hype for many weight-loss supplements would appear to more than bear out the FTC's own statement that its "substantiation standard is a flexible one."
The FTC, in fact, admitted in a report in 2002 that ads for billions of dollars of diet products and services sold each year often include false, misleading and exaggerated claims that promise rapid, effortless weight loss.
On the internet, you can now find sites that claim to provide consumers with independent, objective information about which weight-loss supplements are really effective, and which are making false or exaggerated claims.
But we would ask: If the U.S. government does not have the resources to effectively police the multi-billion-dollar weight-loss supplements, and test these products to see if their claims are true, what confidence should you have in an internet site that claims to be providing the real story on which diet supplements work?
The Diet Drug Report certainly makes no such claim.
The Diet Drug Report will seek to provide consumers with information as to how some of the most widely used weight-loss supplements claim to work, without passing any judgment on their effectiveness or safety.
The Diet Drug Report also will seek to keep consumers informed on FDA or FTC alerts or warnings about any weight-loss supplements, as well as disciplinary actions against any weight-loss supplement manufacturers.