The Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") warned the dietary supplement industry not to spike its products with steroids, prescription drugs or other prohibited substances. According to news reports since 2007 nearly 300 products marketed as supplements have been found to contain potentially dangerous or illegal ingredients. Many of these consumer health products were sold as diet, bodybuilding or sexual enhancement supplements. Unlike drugs, dietary supplements do not have to be proven safe by scientific or medical testing before being sold to consumers. Manufacturers can make general claims about health benefits.
Consumers should be wary of supplements sold as substitutes for prescriptions drugs or legal alternatives to steroids. Dietary supplement purchasers should be vigilant when buying products on the Internet, and those marketed primarily in a foreign language. Consulting a physician is always a good idea, as these non-prescription formulations may interact with prescription and over the counter ("OTC") medications in a way that causes adverse health reactions. Tainted supplements have been linked to reports of adverse events including: strokes, liver and kidney damage and death. The FDA has a link for its office of criminal investigations which looks into tainted health products such ads dietary and weightlifting supplements.