The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) turns 20 next month, signifying two decades of supplements as their own regulatory category. DSHEA meant that supplements were clearly defined, and were separate from the “foods" and “drugs."
Under DSHEA, the supplement industry has thrived. In 2013, 73 percent of adults reported taking supplements, according to the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), and sales of herbal dietary supplements reached a USD $6 billion for the first time, according to the American Botanical Council (ABC).
The passage of the law was a dramatic tale. The bill was close to death several times before it was eventually passed in early morning hours. This was after years of battles between FDA and supplement companies over supplements’ legal footing in the United States. After it passed, supplement brands were free to make substantiated claims and enter the market without FDA pre approval.
The regulation is not without critics. Media and lawmakers have taken shots against the law when dangerous products were marketed as supplements and caused harm. Industry experts contend DHSEA has the power to prevent dangerous products from getting to consumers; the reason some harmful products have gone to market is due to FDA’s lack of enforcement, they said.
All these issues are explored in the INSIDER documentary “DSHEA: The Rest of the Story," which will debut at SupplySide West on Wednesday, Oct. 8 from 3 to 4 p.m. on the SupplySide Central Stage. The industry experts included in the documentary are:
- Scott Bass, partner, Sidley Austin LLP
- Jon Benninger, vice president, Health & Nutrition Network, Informa Exhibitions
- Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., executive director and CEO, Natural Products Association (NPA)
- Brian Frisby, vice president of quality services and regulatory compliance, 21st Century HealthCare
- Todd Harrison, partner, Venable LLP
- Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA)
- Michael McGuffin, president, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)
- Steve Mister, president and CEO, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)
- Marc Ullman, partner, Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman
Along with the screening of the documentary, we’ll have clips of news coverage and commercials from 1994 addressing DSHEA, and we’ll get some insight from Israelsen, who played a large part in the passage of DSHEA.