Why Buying Supplements on Amazon Can Be Dangerous

Posted by Joe Carr, ND on Mar 16th 2021

According to a recently published article by Consumer Reports, nearly 50 dietary supplements sold on Amazon and eBay contain active pharmaceutical ingredients, including some prescription drugs, that are not declared on the label and could pose serious risks to consumers. This is the conclusion of the Food and Drug Administration after they purchased and tested weight loss and sexual enhancement supplements on Amazon and eBay’s websites.

The agency found that the products contained a variety of potentially dangerous drugs. In this testing, all 26 products purchased by the agency on Amazon and 20 bought on eBay contained undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients, including sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). The agency also found sibutramine, an appetite suppressant; desmethylsibutramine, an analog of sibutramine; and fluoxetine (Prozac).

Those ingredients could cause serious side effects or interact with medications or supplements a consumer is already taking. Obviously this is illegal – federal law requires dietary supplements to accurately state the product’s ingredients on their label, and further, that they cannot contain drugs.

The FDA says that several products purchased on Amazon were designated on their listings as “#1 Best Seller” or “Amazon’s Choice." The Amazon’s Choice badge is given to “highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately,” the company tells shoppers throughout its website.

Not all companies selling on Amazon are selling such products and not all supplements sold in the venue are fake, expired, modified or in some manner tainted. I can tell you from experience and from my conversations with various manufacturers that the level of nefarious activity is higher than I am comfortable with. Fortunately Amazon is taking steps to dramatically tighten up their space and these new measures will begin to be implemented in May.

If you’re considering purchasing on Amazon or eBay, you should purchase directly from the manufacturers' stores or from vendors who are authorized by the manufacturer to sell in the space. The convenience of buying on Amazon is an enormous lure but it does come with risks.

The other option is purchasing from sites like The Green Pharmacy who have been around for years, have direct connection with manufacturers and with whom you can have direct contact with your questions, concerns and problems. We've been online since 2002 and are proud of our relationships with multiple vendors and authorized distributors. We stand behind the products we sell, offer access to professional health practitioners for questions you may have and the use of the products you purchase, and hold to the tenant that we exist for our customers.