“Dietary supplements in the U.S. are regulated products subject to manufacturing, labeling, marketing, and adverse event reporting rules established and enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. Today’s column in the Los Angeles Times — which advocates for more responsible manufacturing and marketing, more stringent regulations, and more FDA enforcement — is aligned with calls from responsible manufacturers in the dietary supplement industry, including members of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), who agree that regulations need to be modernized and strengthened.
“While many businesses in the dietary supplements category meet or exceed FDA guidelines, gaps in regulatory compliance pose risks to consumer health and tarnish the reputation of the entire dietary supplements community. As more consumers include supplements in their daily personal health and wellness routines, the supplements market has outgrown and outpaced the current regulatory framework. Modernization is an important public health issue especially as bad actors continue to sell adulterated or misbranded dietary supplement products. CHPA is advocating for more robust and clear regulatory oversight and the increased resources for FDA to support more enforcement and new regulatory processes to support safe use of products. For example, a mandatory product listing can help FDA to quickly identify and remove potentially hazardous and adulterated products from the market while also ensuring products meet quality standards. Regulatory reviews of certain supplement ingredients exist, but the process could be modernized and improved. CHPA is also advocating for FDA authorization of third-party current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) inspectors to better enforce regulations, for new dietary ingredient (NDI) innovation incentives, and for a renewed look at the definition of ‘dietary ingredient’. We all want a reliable process that ensures safety and oversight.
“Dietary supplements, which include vitamins and minerals, benefit millions of adults and children every day by supporting overall health and wellness and addressing nutritional gaps. Nearly two-out-of-five Americans are deficient in two or more nutrients and only twenty percent of Americans meet daily nutrient requirements. Dietary supplements address a number of these deficiencies, and taking supplements is especially beneficial for individuals who need higher levels of certain nutrients or whose diets may restrict the intake of important nutrients, such as pregnant and menopausal women, vegetarians, and people with food allergies.
“Supplements are not medicines and should never be confused with them — or regulated like them. Consumers should always seek reputable companies and be wary of supplements that make claims which are ‘too good to be true’. Consumers should always carefully read Supplements Facts labels for ingredients and instructions for use. Labels must bear appropriate ingredient and nutrition information and should not claim to treat or cure diseases. Learn more from the CHPA Educational Foundation.”