Hello, fellow Iowans! I was out doing some shopping and noticed an increasing number of products that have some form of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval on them. Well, ever wonder just how many products you use every day that are actually regulated by the FDA? From the medicine you take to the sunscreen you apply, the FDA plays a crucial role in ensuring these products are safe and effective for public consumption and use. In fact, about 20 cents of every dollar you spend goes toward a product regulated by the FDA.

Unfortunately, the growing spread of rumors, misinformation, and blatant disinformation about the FDA and its general practices can put patients and consumers at risk. We’re here to comb through the facts listed on the FDA's Rumor Busters page. You've probably seen those same words I have, "FDA Approved." Here are the facts about products that are and are not FDA-approved, and information that the FDA wants YOU, the consumers of Iowa, to know.

1. Generic Medicines = Name Brand Medicines

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Whether you’re picking up a prescription in Dubuque or buying over-the-counter meds in Cedar Rapids, generic medicines are a staple. They’re required to be the same as their brand-name counterparts in dosage, safety, effectiveness, strength, stability, quality, and administration. They work just as well, providing the same clinical benefits and risks at a much more attainable price point.

2. Dietary Supplements & Minerals Are Not FDA Approved.

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If you take vitamins or minerals, you’re using dietary supplements. It’s important to know that the FDA does not approve these for safety and effectiveness before they hit the market. Instead, it’s up to the companies to ensure their products are safe and accurately labeled. Before taking any supplement, read the label and talk to a healthcare professional, especially if you’re on other medications.

3. Compounded Drugs Are Not FDA Approved

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Compounded drugs are customized medications made by pharmacists or physicians to meet an individual patient's needs. While the FDA doesn’t approve these drugs, they do monitor them for safety and accuracy. So next time you’re at your local pharmacy, rest assured that there are regulations in place.

4. E-cigarettes Have Not Been Approved as a "Stop Smoking" Aid

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You’ve probably seen e-cigarettes around. The FDA regulates the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. It's a common myth that e-cigarettes are approved for smoking cessation, but that’s not true. While switching completely from cigarettes to e-cigarettes can reduce exposure to harmful chemicals, using both does not significantly reduce health risks.

5. Facilities Are Not FDA Approved

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It’s a bit of a misconception that the FDA approves facilities like medical product companies or healthcare providers. The FDA does not approve such facilities, including physician offices or laboratories. Again, the manufacturers must ensure their products are safe and accurately labeled.

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6. Waterproof Sunscreen Does Not Exist

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Enjoying a sunny day at the Iowa State Fair or a weekend on the Mississippi? The FDA ensures sunscreens meet safety and effectiveness standards. But beware: no sunscreen is truly waterproof. Products labeled as water-resistant still need to be reapplied regularly. Broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher offer the best protection against skin cancer and early skin aging. So always remember to reapply as directed by the bottle. And remember, sunblock is not recommended for babies younger than 6 months and sun exposure should be limited.

7. Cosmetics Do Not Require FDA Approval

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No m atter the makeup you buy, the FDA does not approve cosmetics or their ingredients (except certain colors) before they are sold. However, they do ensure that these products are not adulterated or misbranded.

8. FDA-Approved Vaccines Go Under Rigorous Evaluation

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Vaccines undergo a rigorous evaluation process by the FDA to ensure they are safe and effective. This process includes extensive testing and continuous monitoring even after the vaccine is approved. Importantly, there is no scientific evidence linking vaccines to autism. Additionally the FDA States there is no link between autism and vaccines. Despite past concerns regarding the MMR Vaccine and thimerosal-containing vaccines, scientific studies have shown that vaccines are not linked to the cause of autism. These studies, conducted by reputable organizations around the world, support the safety of vaccines, including those containing thimerosal.

9. CBD Products Are Being Sold With Unproven Claims

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The FDA has approved only one CBD product, which is used to treat seizures in children with certain conditions. Be cautious with other CBD products, as they may make unproven health claims and carry safety risks. Always consult a healthcare professional before using CBD. Additionally, CBD use may even mask serious issues delaying people from seeking medical attention when it is necessary.

Overall, the FDA’s role is to protect public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of a wide range of products. Their goal is to provide accurate, science-based information for the public's use in knowledge and safety. In this way, the FDA helps consumers make informed decisions. For more detailed information on these facts you can visit the FDA Rumor Control website.

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