Congressional Hearing Examines Supplements' Impact on Health Care

September 23, 2004

2 Min Read
Congressional Hearing Examines Supplements' Impact on Health Care

WASHINGTON--Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Human Rights & Wellness (http://reform.house.gov), held an oversight hearing on Sept. 22, entitled "Dietary Supplements: Nature's Answer to Cost Preventive Medicine." Testimony focused on dietary supplements' ability to serve a preventive role in individual health care, as well as the possible cost savings to the U.S. health care system from such use.

"I, along with millions of Americans, firmly believe that dietary supplements have been shown through credible scientific research and historical use to be of immeasurable benefit to human health," Burton said. "I believe when used responsibly, and in consultation with a primary care physician, these products can greatly enhance an individual's overall personal health."

The hearing set the stage for the release of a study conducted by the Lewin Group, a market research firm, that demonstrated more than $15 billion in potential health care cost reductions with supplement use. The study was sponsored by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA), a non-profit industry organization. (For detailed results on the study, visit www.hsrmagazine.com/hotnews/49h22143349.html.)

Additional testimony was provided by Paul Coates, Ph.D., director of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who described research and education initiatives underway at NIH; Jeff Blumberg, Ph.D., associate director of the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and Barbara Levine, Ph.D., associate clinical professor of nutrition in medicine and director of the Nutrition Information Center at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, discussing the scientific research behind dietary supplement use; and Elliott Balbert, president of Natrol and DSEA chairman, who spoke about the importance of educating Americans about dietary supplements and the need for full implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).

Testimony concluded with actress, author and health advocate Marilu Henner. Henner described why she believes consumers should have access to more information about dietary supplements and why the products should be made more accessible through government initiatives and private health plans. "I believe it is important for consumers to have information about dietary supplements and to have access to supplements through their government and private health plans," Henner said. "I believe dietary supplements should be part of a campaign to improve our nation's health."

Note: Marilu Henner will be the keynote speaker at SupplySide West, Sept. 30, in Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.supplysideshow.com.

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