Health Products for Seniors: Potential Harm From 'Anti-Aging' Products

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Dietary supplements marketed as anti-aging therapies may pose a potential for physical harm to senior citizens. Evidence from the medical literature shows that a variety of frequently used dietary supplements can have serious health consequences for seniors. Particularly risky are products that may be used by seniors who have underlying diseases or health conditions that make the use of the product medically inadvisable or supplements that interact with medications that are being taken concurrently. Studies have also found that these products sometimes contain harmful contaminants or much more ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 10, 2001.

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Dietary supplements marketed as anti-aging therapies may pose a potential for physical harm to senior citizens. Evidence from the medical literature shows that a variety of frequently used dietary supplements can have serious health consequences for seniors. Particularly risky are products that may be used by seniors who have underlying diseases or health conditions that make the use of the product medically inadvisable or supplements that interact with medications that are being taken concurrently. Studies have also found that these products sometimes contain harmful contaminants or much more of an active ingredient than is indicated on the label. Although GAO was unable to find any recent, reliable estimates of the overall economic harm to seniors from these products, it did uncover several examples that illustrate the risk of economic harm. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have identified several products that make advertising or labeling claims with insufficient substantiation, some costing consumers hundreds or thousands of dollars apiece. The potential for harm to senior citizens from health products making questionable claims has been a concern for public health and law enforcement officials. FDA and FTC sponsor programs and provide educational materials for senior citizens to help them avoid health fraud. At the state level, agencies are working to protect consumers of health products by enforcing state consumer protection and public health laws, although anti-aging and alternative products are receiving limited attention. This testimony summarized a September report (GAO-01-1129)."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 10, 2001

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Health Products for Seniors: Potential Harm From 'Anti-Aging' Products, text, September 10, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290344/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.