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This profile was last updated on 3/5/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Pieter A. Cohen

Wrong Dr. Pieter A. Cohen?


Phone: (617) ***-****  HQ Phone
Email: c***@***.edu
Local Address: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Harvard Medical School
1545 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge , Massachusetts 02138
United States

Company Description: Harvard Medical School has more than 7,500 full-time faculty working in 11 academic departments located at the School's Boston campus or in one of 47 hospital-based...   more

Employment History


  • MD
  • medical degree
    Yale School of Medicine
200 Total References
Web References
Backpage at Send Love With Flowers, 5 Mar 2015 [cached]
"The labels on weight-loss supplements look like those on over-the-counter medications, and the Supplement Facts are organized like Nutrition Facts labels," says Pieter Cohen, M.D., a physician at Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance who studies supplements. "It gives you the sense the products are being scrutinized by the FDA. But the truth is that the FDA doesn't inspect or test supplements before they go on the market and often only examines products once the public reports adverse reactions.
Read why you should skip weight loss drugs, too, and what's wrong with herbal remedies.
According to Cohen, the FDA's strategy is putting consumers at risk. "What's absurd about how supplements are regulated in the U.S. is that we wait until consumers are exposed to dangerous, spiked products before the FDA does anything about it," Cohen says. "Until there's a paradigm shift in the regulation of supplements, consumers will continue to be exposed to supplements that place their health at risk."
Meanwhile, hundreds of supplements have been found to contain prescription drugs, experimental drugs, or illegal drugs-all of which can lead to dire consequences. In the case of OxyELITE Pro Super Thermogenic, the FDA found fluoxetine, which is prescribed for conditions including anxiety, depression, bulimia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The drug can cause side effects including headaches, stomach upset, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and decreased sex drive. And, Cohen says, "It's important to remember that this is not pharmaceutically produced Prozac-these are illegal adulterants made by shady manufacturers, and could contain other dangerous chemicals and contaminants as well."
"It's beyond belief that the FDA has permitted this company to yet again introduce a new version of OxyELITE Pro, given its history," says Cohen.
The site includes an infographic on ..., 13 Feb 2015 [cached]
The site includes an infographic on why DNA barcode testing is not appropriate for use on herbal extracts; a section on "what the experts say," including commentary from the Food and Drug Administration and Pieter Cohen, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School; CRN's responses to the NYAG actions; and a question and answer segment for consumers outlining the recent actions taken by the New York Attorney General juxtaposed against the laws and regulations that govern dietary supplements.
Pieter Cohen, a Harvard ..., 8 Feb 2015 [cached]
Pieter Cohen, a Harvard Medical School researcher whose area of expertise is tracking down dangerous supplements, said the new versions of methamphetamine he has found in diet and sports supplements would never be spotted by DNA testing.
"There is so much wrong with the quality of supplements today that it's a shame the New York attorney general is not using sound science to focus on the most important problems," Cohen said.
"The barrage of advertising leads us ..., 30 Dec 2014 [cached]
"The barrage of advertising leads us to think there's a magic way to melt away 10 pounds -- even when we have no evidence that supplements work," Dr. Pieter Cohen, a physician at Harvard Medical School who studies supplements, said in a Consumer Reports news release.
"The labels on weight loss supplements look like those on over-the-counter medications, and the supplement facts are organized like nutrition facts labels," he added. "There's no way for consumers to tell the difference."
So it's perhaps not surprising that the new survey of nearly 3,000 Americans found that about 20 percent of respondents were misinformed, believing, erroneously, that the U.S Food and Drug Administration guarantees the safety and effectiveness of weight-loss supplements.
All of that scientific-looking labeling "gives you the sense the products are being scrutinized by the FDA," Cohen said, even though the agency plays no such role when it comes to supplements.
Cohen said, "of all dietary supplements, the ones for weight loss seem to cause the most harm -- sometimes liver failure and even death."
The survey showed that more than one-third of those taking weight-loss supplements were also taking a prescription medication for another condition. Many people taking weight-loss supplements don't inform their doctor, and that could raise the risk for drug-drug interactions and potentially serious complications.
"These products can interact with prescription medications, but consumers often feel that supplements are different from prescription drugs, and doctors don't ask about them," said Cohen.
Complicating matters, weight-loss products may contain drugs that have been banned by the FDA. In another recent study, the researchers found that 27 supplements recalled by the agency were still being sold. Of those products, two-thirds being sold for weight loss contained some type of banned ingredient.
In the end, "there's no way to know what's in the bottle," Cohen said. "You're at the mercy of the manufacturer."
"If you've spent money on something you think will help, you'll probably pay more attention to what you're eating," explained Cohen.
The new findings are concerning because ..., 4 Oct 2013 [cached]
The new findings are concerning because they suggest that, even when the FDA tests supplements and discovers prohibited ingredients, the agency doesn't always remove these dangerous products, said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston.
"What's the point of identifying products [with prohibited drugs] if you can't take them off the marketplace? said Cohen, who was not involved in the new study.
The recalls described in the new study are voluntary, meaning the FDA asked the manufacturer to recall the product but did not mandate it. It's not clear why 110 products were found to contain drugs but were not recalled, Cohen said.
One possibility, Cohen said, is that the FDA couldn't get in touch with the manufacturer. Indeed, a recent investigation by the Office of the Inspector General found that the FDA did not have accurate contact information for 20 percent of the supplement manufacturers. It's also possible the FDA contacted the manufacturer, but the manufacturer refused to comply, Cohen said.
"The consumer is flying blind when it comes to purchasing supplements," Cohen said. Until manufacturers follow the law - and the FDA enforces it - "these huge categories of supplements need to be completely avoided," he said.
A 2011 study by Cohen and his colleagues found that even supplements that are recalled can still be bought by consumers. The study found that the weight-loss supplement Pai You Guo, which was recalled in 2009 because it contained a banned drug, could still be bought at retail stores.
Cohen said his lab recently tested a sexual-enhancement drug and found it contained pharmaceuticals. Even though the lab alerted the FDA about the supplement - called Sex Plus - in December 2012, the FDA has yet to warn consumers about it, Cohen said.
The dietary supplements that are tested and recalled by the FDA are likely just "the tip of the iceberg," in terms of the percentage of supplements that contain prohibited drugs, Cohen said.
Consumers who want to buy supplements should stick with vitamins and minerals, or single-ingredient supplements, Cohen said. They should look for supplements that have been certified by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention or NSF International, which can provide reassurance that the products contain the proper dosage of ingredients and that they don't contain illegal ingredients, Cohen said.
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