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Durbin, Blumenthal Introduce Supplement Amendments to Military Bill

Durbin, Blumenthal Introduce Supplement Amendments to Military Bill

<p>Supplement use is prevalent in the armed forces, as noted in a recent HBO documentary that highlighted some controversial products.</p>

Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) have introduced three amendments to an appropriations bill that are aimed at regulating supplements within the military.

The amendments are said to be among more than 100 that have been introduced to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). As of Thursday afternoon, the supplement-related amendments were not scheduled to be voted on and consequently faced a slim prospect of being included in a final bill, according to a source in Washington. The NDAA is legislation to authorize the budget authority of the U.S. Defense Department.

Supplement use is prevalent in the armed forces, as noted in a recent HBO documentary that profiled some controversial products linked to death and serious illness.

One amendment would create a system to collect data on the use of supplements by military members and adverse events associated with such products, while a separate one would require the Defense Department to develop a policy for each member of the armed forces to report his or her use of supplements.

A final amendment would require that supplements sold at military bases be verified by a third party for meeting standards or comply with an inventory policy set by the Defense Commissary Agency, an agency of the Defense Department.

Although the amendments aren’t currently the prominent ones being considered for the NDAA, the supplement industry is keeping a close eye on the developments on Capitol Hill.

“Anytime Senator Durbin or Blumenthal work on dietary supplement issues or introduce amendments related to dietary supplements, CRN takes it seriously," said Mike Greene, vice president of government relations with the Council for Responsible Nutrition, in a phone interview.

Christina Mulka, a spokeswoman for Durbin, said there have been no requests yet for co-sponsors to the amendments.

“Senator Durbin’s interest in this issue goes back over a decade when he [was] working to have Ephedra banned after a number of military deaths related to that dietary supplement," she said Thursday in an emailed statement. “Senator Durbin saw an opportunity on this legislation to put forward his ideas, a lot of which is not new."

Representatives for Blumenthal and two senators who are considered advocates to the supplement industry—Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico)—did not respond Thursday to requests for comment.

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