June 21, 2004
Industry Leaders Form Coalition to Protect DSHEA WASHINGTONLeaders from the dietary supplement industry announced the formation of a nonprofit Coalition to Preserve DSHEA, created to protect the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, promote visibility of the industry and cultivate political support on Capitol Hill.If we dont stop harmful legislation and change the negative climate in Congress about our industry, the consequences will severely impact the access and affordability of all dietary supplements, said David Seckman, chief executive officer of the Coalition. Thats why, just as we did in the years leading up to the passage of DSHEA, weve united to increase our strength in achieving common goals. According to Seckman, the Coalitions activities, which are funded through donations, include visiting with lawmakers and their staff to provide analysis of current and potential legislation regarding DSHEA.Only 50 percent of current members of the U.S. House and Senate were in office when DSHEA was passed 10 years ago, and there has been an 80 percent turnover in legislative staff, Seckman said. The Coalitions primary aim will be to educate current legislators and staff about the origin, effectiveness and numerous benefits that DSHEA and dietary supplements provide to the American public. Another goal of the Coalition is to generate grassroots support amongst dietary supplement retailers and consumers across the United States. A Web portal is being developed that will allow consumers to convey their opinions to Congress and the media, as is a Web site of DSHEA resources for legislators and their staff, the media and retailers. Since its formation in early 2004, one of the Coalitions initial activities was to present a citizen petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that challenges the agencys recent interpretation of the statutory definition of dietary supplement. The Coalition also lobbied on Capitol Hill for protection of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a supplement threatened by legislation under the Anabolic Steroid Act currently under Congressional review.
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