Here is an excerp from feb 06' consumer reports on buying multivitamins:
(note: I do not buy expensive vitamins, we use one-a-day in our house)
"how we tested dollar-store brands
our november 2004 report on dangerous products found that dollar stores and other cut-rate outlets often sell defective goods. So we randomly bought and then analyzed 18 multivitamin brands from outlets such as the dollar store, family dollar, and big lots.
We tested for vitamin/mineral content and dissolvability, which indicates whether the pills break down fast enough to be absorbed. We also checked for the heavy-metal contaminants arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. An outside lab conducted the nutrient and contamination tests; we tested dissolvability in our labs.
Our tests were designed to evaluate the reliability of such brands in general. We did not assess enough lots of specific brands to rate them individually because consumers might find it difficult to locate particular dollar-store products. But the overall results of our tests were compelling.
None of the dollar-store products had harmful levels of the heavy metals we tested. But eight failed to meet the label claim for one or more nutrients, and three of those eight didnât dissolve properly. Moreover, three of the substandard products said usp on the label, which by law is supposed to mean that the maker guarantees the product meets usp standards of quality and purity.
In contrast, major multivitamin brands proved so reliable the last time we tested them that we didnât bother evaluating more than two such brands this time. Those products, centrum from a to zinc and bayer one a day maximum, did indeed meet their label claims and were free of the tested contaminants.
Even if the cut-rate multivitamins were reliable, they offer savings of only about $3 to $21 a year over name-brand products; even less, if any, over major store brands. We recommend sticking to those better-known brands of multivitamins."
as far as I am concernd this now solidifies my beliefe that needing to buy vitamins from some pyramid scheme vitamin place is totally unnecessary.