The dietary supplement industry has seen tremendous growth over the past 25 years and the global market is anticipated to reach $216 Billion by 2026.1 This is fueled by the fact that over seventy percent of Americans take dietary supplements.2 However, it is not always clear consumers can trust that what’s on their supplement label is what’s in the bottle.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) provides a framework for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate supplements differently than prescription or over-the-counter medicines. The law puts the responsibility on manufacturers to evaluate the safety and labeling of their products before marketing.3 Thus, it is up to manufacturers to be quality leaders and build trust in their product among consumers.
USP’s market analysis has indicated that companies with < 0.1% market share combine to make up 54% of the global dietary supplement market. We applaud manufacturers who act proactively and responsibly to ensure products are safe and of high quality, but with the many very small manufacturers that make up the dietary supplements market, we cannot assume this level of quality is universal.
Public standards help build consistency and trust needed in dietary supplements. For 200 years, USP has advocated to ensure the quality of medicines, dietary supplements, and foods. USP also participates in the Dietary Supplements Quality Collaborative, whose work aims to improve the quality and safety of products marketed as dietary supplements. In 2006, we launched the dietary supplement verification program, a third-party service providing manufacturers a way to confirm quality attributes such as positive identity, potency, and purity. Those whose products pass rigorous testing may display the USP verified mark. Yet, we know only 3 out of 10 of the largest dietary supplement manufacturers who make up nearly half of the global market use a USP public standard or participate in the USP verification program.
Now is the time for all of us to work to ensure the public’s trust in the quality of dietary supplements. FDA has indicated its desire to modernize regulation and oversight of dietary supplements.4 Companies who lead with their commitment to quality are poised to help shape the conversation for what good looks like for the industry while building consumer trust in the quality of dietary supplements.
Source: USP data on file. (2020, March)