It looks like Consumer Reports is planning another article on dietary supplements. The Consumerist recently posted that its sister publication (Consumer Reports) is looking for stories about dietary supplements, good or bad. The site said it is looking for consumer takes on herbal remedies, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and multi-ingredient supplements.
"Have you recently had an especially beneficial experience with a supplement?" The Consumerist asked it readers. "Have you suffered a serious health problem after taking a supplement in the last three years? If so, was that linked to its interaction with a prescription drug?"
Consumers are encouraged to email their stories and contact information to [email protected] to be contacted by a Consumer Reports editor.
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) said during a phone call to the Consumer Reports office, an AHPA staffer was informed that as long as the posting is on The Consumerist website, the call for dietary supplements stories is still open; the Consumer Reports representative was not able to provide a deadline for consumer stories..
Consumer Reports is a known antagonist of the dietary supplement industry, so we have justification to be cautious of the upcoming article. It seems promising that the publication is asking consumers about both positive and negative interactions with supplements, but I still think industry should be wary, given Consumer Report's history.
In 2010, the publication released a cover story about " 12 dangerous supplements," which was an update from a 2004 list of "dirty dozen" supplements. Industry members argued most of the supplements on the lists were uncommon and the entire list accounted for less than 1 percent of the supplement market. Senior editor Steve Myers explored this issue in the Natural Products Insider article " The Media Holography."
In January 2012 Consumer Reports issued a correction after it used an inadequate test to determine fish oil products weren't fresh.
Perhaps Consumer Reports will use this next story to correct its ways and offer a balanced look at the dietary supplement industry. I encourage brand owners to reach out to their consumers to ask for them to submit comments about their supplement experiences. Maybe this time, supplements won't come out looking as dangerous as the publication has depicted it before.