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January 14, 2002
YONKERS, N.Y.--Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of themagazine Consumer Reports, published the results of its tests on 19widely available brands of joint-health supplements--four of which failed tomeet label requirements and two of which recommended too low a dose per day(based on clinical studies using 1,500 mg/d of glucosamine and 1,200 mg/d ofchondroitin). Through these tests, the magazine evaluated the safety andefficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin, something it has done in the pastseveral years with such supplements as SAMe, kava, saw palmetto and echinacea,using official methods for analyses or, if ones did not exist, using anappropriate method based on industry practice and/or sound science. Theorganization reported that two or three independent laboratories tested eachsupplement.
Due to the side effects involved with over-the-counter anti-inflammatoriessuch as aspirin and ibuprofen, the Consumers Union evaluated widely availabledietary supplement brands, 74 percent (or 14 brands) of which passed with flyingcolors. In its report, the organization listed the product's name, pill count,percentage of glucosamine and chondroitin the products contained compared tolabeled amounts, labeled recommended doses, the doses used in Consumers Uniontests and the cost per daily dose.
The magazine stated in its article that the supplement industry is not asregulated as the drug industry in regard to standardization and label claims.However, "... we are encouraged by [industry organizations] implementingGood Manufacturing Practices that make sure the products contain what they saythey do," stated Jeff Martin, director of consumer science and publicservice at Consumers Union, during an audio news conference in December.
What can manufacturers do whose products did not pass and might possibly bemarred by the magazine's negative publicity? "In the past, we heard fromthe manufacturers whose products were rated by us in regard to theanalyses," Martin stated. "It's our policy to give as much informationas possible to the manufacturers as to how we came to our conclusion."
According to a statement received from Solgar, the company had not seen theactual lab test results from Consumer Reports, though it did receive thelots and test methods of the products analyzed. One Solgar product did not passthe tests. It noted that it was having the lot numbers independently retested atqualified facilities using the same testing methods as those used by ConsumerReports. "Solgar continues to stand behind all of our products with a100-percent Customer Satisfaction Guarantee," the company stated. "Solgaris committed to continually improving our manufacturing and quality assuranceprocedures for all of our products."
"We would like to see all products contain their purported claims,"stated Phil Harvey, Ph.D., chief science officer at the National NutritionalFoods Association (NNFA) (www.nnfa.org)."However, this is only one test."
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