You'll never guess who's touting the beneficial effects of glucosamine

If I told you that a company was spending marketing and PR dollars to fight for the right to explain the beneficial effects of glucosamine — the natural supplement that helps rebuild cartilage and provide support for healthy, flexible joints — who would you think I was talking about?

Maybe Schiff…Nature Made…NorthStar…even HSI?

All good guesses. But how many guesses would I have to give you before you got to…

Merck & Co.?

Earlier this year Seven Seas (one of Merck’s supplement companies) was slapped on the wrist by UK regulators for claiming that glucosamine promotes “normal joint health.”

Nope, said the regulator — that claim implies a future benefit. But the regulator DID allow a claim that glucosamine promotes “the smooth working of joints.”

Meanwhile, Merck…er, that is “Seven Seas” has asked European Union regulators to give them the green light on that “normal joint health” claim.

Of course, what they really want to say (at least on that side of the pond) is: “Glucosamine does what prescription drugs can’t do. It rebuilds your joints so you live pain free, move easier, and forget you ever had arthritis.”

But alas, they are learning what it feels like when the FDA isn’t on your side — and in your pocket. So they’ve had to settle for fighting for “normal joint health.”

Like I said, they want the freedom to shout the benefits of glucosamine in Europe, but if the FDA were about to approve that claim for glucosamine in the US, Merck would likely be leading the charge to shut it down — and shut everyone up — so it couldn’t cut into their obscene prescription drug profits.

I guess they are masters at talking out of both sides of their bottom (line, that is).

“Merck applies for article 13.5 glucosamine joint health claim” Shane Starling, NutraIngredients, 10/27/11,

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