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ABC Journalist Has a Fever: His Prescription is More Regulation

Take more government regulation and call me in the morning.

That’s the advice ABC’s Dr. Timothy Johnson gave on vitamin supplements on the May 1 "World News Tonight."

"Tim, why don’t these companies that make vitamins and make these supplements have to prove their safety and efficacy to the government," anchor Elizabeth Vargas prompted Johnson following his first report in his "Daily Dose" evening newscast series.

"That’s because in 1994, the industry convinced Congress to classify these products as foods, rather than drugs," lamented Johnson whose story had just warned of possible dangers of vitamin supplements in large doses.

But rather than urging viewers to take vitamins with physician consultation or in accordance with the government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA), Johnson advocated for a change in the law. "I think that was a bad piece of health legislation. I would like to see it corrected, especially for these mega-doses."

Yet just months earlier, another ABC medical journalist, Dr. David Katz, had a more balanced take on vitamins.

"I take a multivitamin. It’s, it’s not a danger, we don’t have definitive evidence of health benefits, but it makes good sense," Katz told Diane Sawyer on the March 21 "Good Morning America."

Later in the interview, Katz reminded Sawyer that the danger from vitamin overuse was in "mega-dosing these nutrients. You know, taking them well above the RDA level."

[cross-posted to]

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Written By

Mr. Shepherd is a staff writer for the Business & Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.

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