American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) President Michael McGuffin sent a letter to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) expressing concern that the hospital's recent decision to remove most dietary supplements from the CHOP Formulary was based on a lack of accurate information.
Sarah Erush, PharmD, BCPS, pharmacy clinical manager and a member of the CHOP's Therapeutic Standards Committee said in a press release that the decision was made because supplements are "essentially unregulated" and "there is no sound information about adverse side effects, drug interactions, or even standard dosing."
McGuffin wrote to assure CHOP that supplements are well-regulated by several federal agencies. He also notified Erush about existing sound information on the effectiveness, adverse side effects, drug interactions and standard dosing of herbal supplements. He extended a complimentary subscription to the online version of AHPA's Botanical Safety Handbook, an authoritative compilation of safety information from clinical trials, pharmacological and toxicological studies, medical case reports and historical texts on over 500 species of commonly used herbs.
"Simply removing these popular vitamins and supplements from the CHOP Formulary is unlikely to eliminate unintended drug interactions with dietary supplements," McGuffin wrote. "A more effective approach would be to educate staff and patients about the benefits and risks of drugs and supplements so patients have informed and safe access to the broadest selection of health care options."