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CVS Launches Program To Test All Its Vitamins And Supplements


(WBUR) – Rhode Island-based retail pharmacy giant CVS is launching a program to require testing of all the vitamins and supplements it sells, aiming to make sure — and assure customers — that they contain what they say they do.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time that any national retailer is requiring all vitamins and supplements to undergo third-party testing, in order to be sold on our shelves,” says CVS Senior Vice President George Coleman.

More than 1,400 vitamins and supplements from 152 brands have now undergone testing, CVS says.

The testing is performed by independent inspectors — not by CVS or the supplement makers themselves. It checks for contaminants and verifies that the contents listed on the labels are correct.

CVS says 7% of the products flunked, and were either pulled from the shelves or had to change their labels.

A leading researcher on supplements, Dr. Pieter Cohen of Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, praises the program, but adds, “We should have had this for the last 25 years.”

It should long have been the norm, he says, “that if we go into CVS, and we purchase Vitamin D, what’s listed on the label should be exactly what’s in the pills.”

But the lax regulation of supplements in the United States means there’s no guarantee, he says.

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