Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here’s Monday’s query:
Name: Dick Levinson
Question: While I admire your intelligence and integrity, your recent piece on herbal supplements omitted a critical piece of information that your viewers should know. It is no accident that consumers are at the mercy of the companies that make these products. Many of the firms that make these products are based in Utah. As a result, they have a powerful friend and protector in Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Years ago, when the Republicans controlled the U.S. Senate, Hatch made sure that these companies would be protected from the FDA and thoughtful consumers alike. A cynic might conclude that these herbal supplement companies don’t want to know what their products are made of. Please investigate further and continue your reporting!
Paul Solman: I hadn’t known anything about the Utah/Hatch/herbal supplement connection. After reading a bit on the web, I now do. Since I’d simply be paraphrasing, let me simply provide a link from a traditionally reliable source, the Washington Monthly. Also, there’s this from Minyanville.