Government and Drug Companies Work Together to Quash Natural Cure

June 16, 2010 at 09:05 (General Stupidity, Health, News)

Corruption!

Red yeast rice (RYR), a product made from cultivating rice with the mold Monascus purpureus, has been used in China for centuries to treat circulatory and digestive disorders – and apparently without a bit of controversy. RYR has been in use in the U.S. for a much shorter period of time (as a non-prescription cholesterol-lowering supplement), and has generated lots of controversy.
The Controversy and Confusion Over RYR

The controversy began in 1999, shortly after clinical trials first showed that RYR could indeed significantly lower cholesterol levels. At that time it came to the attention of the FDA that RYR’s effectiveness is related to the fact that it contains a naturally-occurring form of the statin drug lovastatin (marketed as Mevacor). So the FDA ruled that RYR was a regulable drug, and thus ordered it removed it from the shelves.

This FDA decision was initially overruled by the District Court of Utah in 1999, but in 2000 the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the FDA that RYR could be regulated. So RYR could still be sold legally in the U.S., but only if steps were taken in its manufacturing process to remove the lovastatin (presumably eliminating its effectiveness).

Then, in 2007, the FDA found that at least some RYR in the U.S. still contained lovastatin, and (after issuing a formal FDA Consumer Safety Alert) took further steps to purge the “tainted” products from the shelves.

Currently, as far as the FDA is concerned, the RYR that you can buy in the U.S. contains no lovastatin. But otherwise, RYR is still considered a dietary supplement, so its formulation and content is still not regulated — and it is very difficult if not impossible to find out what it does contain. (This is the case with any unregulated dietary supplement.)

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