OTC and the FDA

A couple of years ago the FDA approved new guidelines for the over-the-counter products it regulates. Knowing more about this particular set of rulings issue helps you understand the importance of diligence and research when something is done that affects any product you take.

The product we'll focus on is sunscreen. Yes, sunscreen is considered in the same category as other OTC products. The FDA finally got its OTC division involved to begin regulating the sunscreen you have available without a prescription.

Before getting to specifics, notice this chart that comes from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development:

OTC and the FDA

The sobering fact is that the United States outspends every other industrialized nation on its health care as you can see from this chart – and this was in 2004, long before Obamacare was even a possibility – but the fact we must come to accept is that the USA is dead last in life expectancy compared to its peers.

We are also the most vaccinated country in the world. Shouldn't vaccinations prevent disease and extend life? Then why are we dead last in life expectancy among the developed nations?

Let's consider the sunscreen fiasco. (Fiasco is my term.)

The FDA has wanted to regulate sunscreen since 1978. They published draft rules in 1999, but delayed the final ones 2011. In the interim, you probably have slathered on sunscreens with ascending degrees of SPFs, thinking they're protecting you from cancer because – the FDA said they do.

Guess what? Instead of dropping, rates for melanoma – the most serious type of skin cancer – have gone up by four percent per year since 1973.

True to form, the CDC blames more exposure to the sun for this. Of course they do. It's a lot like the dental industry saying that the mercury in amalgam fillings does you no harm. It is my view that to detour from their historical recommendations would be to admit to a massive liability problem.

It turns out that some, if not all sunscreens may be contributing to the rise in skin cancer! As revealed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the FDA was aware of this for ten years, but did nothing about it. They denied it, but documents show that the agency itself not only had done the research, but posted it on its website.

I wonder how many people died from sunscreen-caused melanoma while the FDA failed to act on this.

Another thing that neither the FDA, nor the CDC, nor the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) are admitting is that their recommendations to stay out of the sun, or keep most of your body covered while you're in it, aren't in your best interest either. Australians found out the hard way that their aggressive anti-sun campaign ended up with 35 to 70 percent of the population being severely deficient in vitamin D. As a result they've seen a massive increase in osteoporosis-related broken bones, which costs their healthcare system $1.9 billion a year to treat!

Most Americans are deficient in vitamin D. There's ample evidence that vitamin D plays a part in cancer prevention, heart disease, and diabetes. Since even WebMD promotes safe sun exposure – without sunscreen – for maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D, the only question left to ask is: why is the FDA bombarding the media with warnings to stay out of the sun (a natural source of vitamin D) and why would the FNB recommend such low levels of it that it literally could keep you sick?

A possible answer could be that, as Daniel Haley, a former FDA official-turned-whistleblower said, the FDA considers the drug industry their client. That's right; they're not working for you, the consumer.

They work for the drug industry.

As Haley pointed out, the FDA has a history of making decisions that look out for their client.

So what does sunscreen have to do with OTC drugs? Everything.

Sunscreens have been turned into an FDA approval process with their guidelines that mimics that of every OTC drug.

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