GNC: Good Night Conmen

By Josh Bloom — May 03, 2016
GNC is just one of many companies that has profited by selling junk to a scientifically-naive public. But, perhaps they haven't profited enough. The company is in financial trouble. And we are not losing sleep over it.

LIVEWELLEvery now and then you get a chance to make a small contribution to the world. When that happens, it can be very fulfilling.

Today, we at the American Council are feeling very fulfilled. The supplement giant GNC, which has been in our crosshairs many times, is finally getting a dose of its own medicine (ironic use of the word medicine intended.) Sales projections look terrible, and there's talk that the company is putting itself up for sale. Shareholders are clearly unhappy.


GNC One Year Stock Price Chart: Yahoo Financials

What went wrong? One of our pet peeves, and something we've written extensively about, is the latitude afforded dietary supplements, which are often nothing more than unregulated drugs. And GNC has made a fortune hawking supplements.

But the party may be over, at least given its share price and greater awareness about the dangers of supplements, when they do anything at all -- which is something we have said many times.

Below is a partial list of some of our favorite commentaries about GNC and the rest of the industry:

"When is a Drug a Drug?"  American Spectator  March 2012

"So you want an 'endocrine disruptor?' Look no further than GNC."  July 2013

Press release by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman regarding prosecution of GNC and three other companies (with quotes from Drs. Bloom and Seres)  March 2015

"What the hell is GNC selling now?" April 2015

"Oregon Sues GNC Over Illegal Supplement Sales."  October 2015

"Supports Prostate Health,’ the Latest Supplement Lie."  October 2015

"Science vs. Politics On Supplements: Who Do You Believe?"  November 2015

"PBS Exposé Spotlights Truth About Dangerous Supplements."  January 2016

"Poorly Regulated 'Herbal Supplements' Could Be Your Worst Nightmare." Forbes, February 2016

You're welcome, America.

Obviously, the American Council addresses this sort of thing every day. Whether it's tackling an issue before it even becomes an issue, helping policy makers do the right thing, or providing you with answers about the difference between a health scare and a health threat, we do it because that's why we exist. Even if it means standing up to big, well-funded special interest groups, agenda-driven radical environmental groups and the media outlets like Mother Jones that enable them, or wrongheaded government agencies,  we have done it for 38 years and will continue to do so.

But today, thanks to the decline of GNC, that sound you can hear is us giving ourselves a little pat on the back.

Josh Bloom

Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Josh Bloom, the Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, comes from the world of drug discovery, where he did research for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry.

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