A survey of students of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City showed that up to 80% of Vietnamese consumers (312 out of 384 people) still confuse dietary supplements with drugs. Although the number of this survey is not large, but now that the number of people using dietary supplements in Vietnam is increasing (accounting for more than 20% of the population), these numbers are also worth pondering because The consequences it brings are many.
BELOW ARE 3 KEY REASONS FOR CONSUMERS HAVE THIS MISTAKE:
1. The number of food products and production and business enterprises is increasing day by day, making it very difficult to strictly control business activities.
- According to the Vietnam Association of Functional Foods: Since 2000, our country has only had 63 dietary supplements with 13 importing establishments. In 2018, there were more than 10,930 products with 4,190 businesses participating in the business. By 2022, about 30,000 dietary supplements will be allowed to circulate.
- It can be seen that up to now, more and more products appear in the Vietnamese market, the management of business activities and product quality is also increasingly difficult to control than ever.
Consequences: The selection as well as the quality control of the output will not be strict, consumers are likely to buy the wrong food products of poor quality, sometimes even buy fake goods.
2. Advertisements of food supplements intentionally make consumers misunderstand or misunderstand the whole product.
- Many companies have previously introduced dietary supplements as a product with therapeutic effects such as pharmaceuticals and drugs. The prices of these supplements are pushed up very high, so consumers are always suspicious and have had bad misunderstandings.
About product labels:
- Many food supplements have not recorded full information about:
1. Health claim and
2. Confirmation of functional structure (structure / function claims) . Moreover, they also intentionally put the name "medical foods" on the label to avoid the regulations of the censorship agency.
- Worse, they also add some healthy substances to products containing a lot of fat, cholesterol, sugar, ... to sell as dietary supplements.
- Advertisements are not true, tend to exaggerate the uses, actual functions make buyers use them for the wrong purposes, causing costly and more difficult treatment.
- Many advertisements, even though it is mentioned that "This product is not a medicine and does not work as a substitute for medicine", read very quickly or the text is very small. This makes it easy for viewers to overlook these important information, and even if they hear it, most will implicitly understand that this is a drug because their use is no different from medicine to treat disease.
Because the benefits of food supplement advertising are so great, many cases have abused and intentionally loaded too much substance with excess content, making it impossible for the body to absorb all nutrients, but sometimes even causing harm to the body. dangerous side effects to health.
3. Consumers have not equipped themselves with enough basic knowledge about the use of drugs and dietary supplements.
- Also according to a survey of students of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City, 80% of consumers access information about dietary supplements on TV, internet, books and leaflets, only 8.6% from scientific information sources. education, reputation and trustworthiness and 11.4% from other sources.
- The less knowledge consumers have, the more susceptible they are to the promises and affirmations of product effectiveness from food supplements. Since then, the subjectivity is formed, any advertisement appearing on television or on the Internet is absolutely trusted without checking the accuracy of such information.
- When consumers have had a bad experience with functional foods (uses are not as advertised or have unwanted side effects), there is a high probability that dietary supplements will become negative in the eyes of consumers. use that. And when it comes to dietary supplements, such consumers will become very strict and hesitant in choosing another dietary supplement.
SO HOW SHOULD WE UNDERSTAND ABOUT FOOD?
According to the Circular No. 08/TT-BYT dated 23/08/2004 of the Ministry of Health has given the definition:
Food supplements are foods used to support the function of organs in the human body, have nutritional effects, make the body comfortable, increase resistance and reduce the risk of disease. Depending on the formula, the content of micronutrients and instructions for use, functional foods also have the following names: micronutrient supplements, dietary supplements, health protection foods, nutritional products medical care.
- Drugs are substances or mixtures of substances used for human use for the purpose of disease prevention, treatment, diagnosis or adjustment of physiological functions, including finished drugs, medicinal ingredients, vaccines, biological products. medical, except functional foods.
In addition, TPCN . ( Functional foods ) are also defined by Wikipedia : "are products of natural origin or foods that are added during the processing process with "functional" substances. Like medicinal foods, functional foods are located at the intersection between food and medicine and people also call functional foods as medicinal foods. The reason functional foods have the ability to support disease treatment and disease prevention is because it has the ability to restore all cellular structures in the body that are damaged.”
So we have clearly seen the difference between dietary supplements and drugs right from the concept.
Functional foods are not drugs
- Whatever the cause, we should be fair and more objective in evaluating functional foods. In addition to poor quality food products, there are many good and effective products on the market today.
- Consumers must always be very vigilant when deciding to use dietary supplements and it is better to consult/advise from a doctor to choose to buy a product that is suitable for their needs as well as confirm the safety of the product. brand reputation.
- In addition, many dietary supplements are also extracted from plants, very benign, suitable for most users, from vegetarians to the elderly, pregnant women and children.
(References: en.wikipedia.org | dothi.reatimes.vn | dantri.com.vn | laodong.vn | gmp.com.vn)
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