Technology has done many wonderful things for us. It has given us unparalleled access to information and has kept us connected through the trials and tribulations of the pandemic.
It has allowed us to continue working and going to school, ordering our favorite foods, and getting what we need delivered right to our homes.
But there’s also a dark side to all this technology – it is leaving the door open to bad actors to spread false information and sell fake cures.
The real shocker? A lot of these fake COVID supplements are being sold right on Amazon, one of the largest and most trusted retailers in the world.
Amazon Loopholes Are The Issue
Amazon’s model is to own as little inventory as possible but have as many listings as possible. They accomplish this by working with third party sellers.
Sometimes the third party sellers contract with Amazon to sell and ship on their behalf, and sometimes those third party sellers ship directly to consumers.
Under both circumstances the sellers are required to sign contracts saying they won’t sell anything harmful or illegal and that everything meets federal guidelines.
Unfortunately many supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, but those aren’t the only supplements that are being sold that are potentially dangerous.
Oftentimes third parties are buying and reselling lots of merchandise from store closures and it’s just not their area of expertise. Other times, sellers can be ignoring safety outright because there is little oversight.
Some Amazon third-party sellers have been shown to sell supplements that don’t contain adequate warnings or disclaimers, aren’t properly labeled with nutrition information or ingredients, or even sometimes that falsely claim to be “FDA approved.”
Sometimes these supplements are also promoted with fake reviews or have sold so many items that they boast an “Amazon’s Choice” badge on the listing.
There are even multiple pages of supplement listings for the search “COVID supplements,” which is a serious issue in itself.
The Problem With Fake Supplements
77% of the supplements sold online are sold by Amazon. Unfortunately in a market that is barely regulated, there are a lot of issues with supplements that are fake, mislabeled, or have unlisted ingredients, including pharmaceuticals.
In 2018 year alone there were more than 5000 incidents of poisoning from supplements, and 20% of reported liver injuries can be traced back to herbal and dietary supplements. What’s more, suspected vitamin overdoses have risen by 35% since 1999.
To top it off, a third of those who regularly take both supplements and prescription medications are at risk for adverse drug interactions.
Many supplements sold online are mislabeled, including:
- 82% of bodybuilding supplements
- 69% of CBD products sold online
- 52% of dietary and herbal supplements
- 49% of vitamins, including single and multivitamins
- 44% of botanical supplements
Finding Safe Supplements Is Up To You
It’s up to consumers to do their homework to find supplements that are safe and effective, and the first step is researching the seller and ensuring they are trustworthy and knowledgeable in their field.
Learn more about the problem of fake supplements on Amazon and how to avoid them from the infographic below.