Many Americans wake up a little green around the gills after a night of drinking and reach for the latest bottle of pills that are marketed to consumers to cure post-indulgence misery. The problem? According to Food and Drug Administration, no approved “cure” for a hangover exists. So why do so many products claim that they help to kick the bottom-of-the-bottle distress?
Those products can be marketed and sold legally, because they’re classified as over-the-counter (OTC) supplements, says Andrea Fischer, who is a spokesperson for FDA. OTC supplements don’t require the supervision of a health-care professional and can be purchased without a prescription, Fischer says.
“Anyone can sell a supplement, although they generally can’t make claims to prevent, treat or cure a medical condition—and that goes for hangovers, as well,” says Tod Cooperman, who is the president of ConsumerLab.com, which tests health and nutritional products independently.
However, FDA-proposed guidelines would allow companies to market and sell hangover products as OTC solutions without preapproval from FDA, as long as the product follows specific guidelines for labeling ingredients and what ailments that those ingredients are intended to treat.