Adverse reactions to prescribed drugs in the UK, which account for approximately 10% of all hospital medical admissions, have been recognised for over 40 years and lead to the development of the specialty of pharmacovigilance.
Reports of adverse reactions to nutritional supplements have also appeared over a similar period with a substantial increase over the last decade in the international literature. In the United States there has been enough public concern for the Food and Drug Administration to demand that all reports made to US manufacturers of an adverse event to a nutritional supplement that they produce are reported to them as from 22nd of December 2007 www.fda.gov/medwatch/otc.htm and http://www.fda.gov/cder/regulatory/public_law_109462.pdf The US public can now record such adverse events on line themselves.
At present in the UK there is no similar legal requirement or mechanism for reporting adverse reactions to non-prescribed nutritional supplements.
The three best reports that are relevant to the UK consumer are:
There are two additional main sources