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5-Feb-15 9:30 AM  CST  

New York State Attorney General tells Big Name Retailers to ‘Cease and Desist’ Sale of Certain Herbal Medications 

The New York State Attorney General’s office confirmed today that a letter of ‘cease and desist’ was sent to retailers, GNC, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Target over the sale of certain herbal medications. Accusations of fraudulent and misbranded labeling of herbal medication, by the Attorney General’s office forced the retailers to remove all the medications from their shelves. After numerous consumer complaints, testing was conducted on various herbal medications and found that many of the products contained none of the ingredients the label claimed they did. The FDA, which does not, for the large part, monitor herbal products, has monitored a select few, but this most recent monitoring from the New York State Attorney General’s office is the largest yet.

Officials found the store brand products rarely contained the product its label claimed it did, and Wal-Mart’s products were the worst of the offenders. Officials found that many of the products contained fillers such as powdered rice, asparagus, and even ground up houseplants. An example of misbranding fell to Walgreen’s brand ginseng tablets that made claims of “physical endurance and vitality”, however, the product contained no ginseng and little more than powered garlic and rice. Wal-Mart’s brand gingko biloba, which many use to increase memory, contained powdered rice, radish, and wheat, but no gingko biloba. Additionally, the Wal-Mart product made claims of being wheat and gluten free, but was not.

Consumers that use herbal medications are encouraged to do with caution. Speaking with your pharmacist as well looking for a seal of approval from the United State Pharmacopeia (USP), an independent, non-governmental agency that monitors purity and safety in consumer drug products. This most recent situation may be a wake up call to consumers and health officials alike, causing many to call for much stricter regulation of herbal products.




O’Connor, A. (2015) “New York Attorney General Targets Supplements at Major Retailers” New York Times,, retrieved, 3.February, 2015


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Source: Sandy Andrews

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