Do weight loss claims = disease claims?

In April, GlaxoSmithKline filed a citizen’s petition with the FDA asking the agency to treat weight loss claims for dietary supplements as disease claims.

This doesn’t sit well with the supplements industry, but is the right thing to do?

An article at The Natural Foods Merchandiser informs us “Dietary supplements are allowed to make structure/function claims regarding weight loss, but not to claim that a supplement can eliminate a disease state, such as obesity.”

For example…

  • You can say “Product X can help get you back in shape for summer.”
  • But not, “Product X can help you lose 80 pounds in a few months.”

Glaxo, supported by the American Dietetic Association, says consumers believe that any kind of weight loss claim for a dietary supplement is an obesity claim. Therefore, dietary supplements makers are really marketing drugs, and their products shouldn’t be allowed on the market.

The bottom line?
Obviously, Glaxo is defending its over-the-counter diet pill, Alli — a low-dose version of Xenical.

But before you snicker, go here. Scroll down below the table and then tell me if Glaxo’s position has merit

Who supports that website? It’s difficult to tell, but the ad on the left is not a Google ad, Amazon ad, or a Blogad.

5/7/08 19:20 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.