We’re all looking for deals, and certain online retailers (name redacted to avoid lawsuits) offer the best.
So why do I get so upset when I hear about folks doing this? When you order online you have zero assurance that what you get is what you thought you were — and this can hurt you!
I’ve been polling my colleagues around the country, and they have literal horror stories about patients coming in with bottles they bought online that are fraudulently labeled, don’t work or make them actively sick.
Here’s what we’ve been seeing — and what I recommend to protect yourself and your health. All quotations come from my ND colleagues and are used with permission.
Sometimes you can tell a supplement is fake by looking at the labels. Counterfeit supplements may come in different forms than the real ones (tablet vs. capsule), in different quantities, different colors, with slightly different labels, expiration dates cut off and more.
“I have 5 bottles of “counterfeit” products sitting in my office. High end products that are packaged in a bottle that looks VERY much like the real thing……the difference is the font is slightly different. The capsules were NOTHING like the “real deal” capsules, which is what alerted my clients to there being a problem. Of course, they had tried to save a little money by buying on A*****, only to receive counterfeit products.”
One of my colleagues had a patient whose blood-pressure herbs stopped working after ordering through A*.com. When the patient used samples from my colleague’s office, it worked again.
Here’s how the company responded:
“Our rep said they have been paying people for the product and paying to ship the product to them for assay. It is switched ingredients, dose cut with other materials or just completely different.”
Potentially serious health consequences
Sometimes the fake supplements make people ill.
“I know someone who ordered [supplement] on A*****. She had never taken it before and she is extremely sensitive to gluten. She said the [supplement] made her very ill. She brought the one she got on A***** to give to her friend because she couldn’t take it. Her friend opened it and compared it to her [same supplement] and the one purchased on A***** was white! (It is supposed to be yellowish.)”
Sometimes, the effects are life threatening.
“One client ended up in the emergency room with an anaphylactic reaction caused by taking the counterfeit supplements. I have heard similar stories from at least 6 other doctors.”
What to do instead
Supplement companies have been fighting this for years, sometimes spending millions of dollars to shut down unscrupulous or fraudulent resellers. Some companies are now selling directly through A*****.com — the only way they can pressure the company to protect their interest and the patients who rely on them.
I’m happy that my patients haven’t experienced these horror stories. They know they get the best quality (and in many cases, the best deal) by purchasing their supplements through me.
Porch pickups are still available for my Portland patients. But for those who aren’t nearby — or understandably don’t want to venture out unnecessarily — I can offer almost everything my clinic stocks online.
Supplements you purchase through this portal come from the same warehouse as those I carry in my office, so you know you’re getting the real thing. I even offer an automatic discount on all orders to help defray shipping costs.
Click here or on the Fullscript image below to go directly to the site. Once you’ve registered, you’ll see my favorite supplements listed by category, and have access to everything that’s offered there. Note that most of these are brands available only through physicians.
As always, please check with your doctor before changing your health regimen.
P.S. Want help selecting supplements? I offer secure virtual office visits to all Oregonians! Make your appointment here. I’m able to offer similar one-on-one meetings to people in some other states; if you’re interested, send me an email and we’ll figure out what works best for you.