WASHINGTON—The FDA official who has led the agency's dietary supplement programs for the last three years is leaving his post to assume the helm at the Natural Products Association (NPA).
It will be a familiar role for Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., the outgoing director of FDA's division of dietary supplement programs. Fabricant previously served as vice president of global government and scientific affairs for NPA, including a stint as active CEO.
"NPA is the leading association in the industry, and my top priority is ensuring NPA remains the premiere organization for advocacy and regulatory engagement," Fabricant said in a statement. "NPA is made up of leaders, and we are going to dedicate ourselves to strengthening that leadership position through hard work and membership growth. Now is the time to take our productivity to the next level, and that is precisely what we will do."
Arthur Whitmore, an FDA spokesman, said Fabricant's last day at FDA will be Friday, April 18. NPA spokeswoman Lauren Cohen said Fabricant will start his first day at NPA on Monday, April 21.
"Over the last three years, Dr. Fabricant has worked hard to help ensure the safety of dietary supplement products," FDA said in a statement. "In the three years since Dr. Fabricant joined the FDA, the agency has taken several court enforcement actions and issued numerous Warning Letters to companies marketing products as dietary supplements. The infractions include adulteration, mislabeling and violations of Good Manufacturing Practice requirements."
"We thank Dr. Fabricant for his service to the FDA and his efforts to ensure that dietary supplements are in compliance with all FDA regulations, properly labeled, and safe for use," the agency added. "We wish him the best in his new role."
Since 2012, John Shaw has led NPA as executive director and CEO. Cohen said Shaw resigned last week "to pursue other professional interests."
"We couldn't be more pleased that Dr. Fabricant will be returning to NPA," said NPA president Roxanne Green in a statement. "His service to this association in the past, coupled with the invaluable experience he has gathered at FDA, make him the perfect choice to lead our association in this era of growth.. He knows the industry as well, if not better, than anyone. NPA is committed to ensuring that the public knows what is truly natural, that our members understand the complex rules and regulations governing our industry, and that policymakers get the facts. As the foremost industry expert on natural products and dietary supplement issues, Dr. Fabricant will help us achieve those goals."
While serving as the head official of FDA's dietary supplement programs, Fabricant made compliance with cGMPs (current good manufacturing practices) one of his biggest priorities. During trade shows, other speaking engagements and interviews with the press, Fabricant frequently highlighted the results of FDA inspections for cGMPs, which he said reflected continuing violations of basic rules that are intended to ensure supplements are produced safely and include the ingredients that are specified on a label. Under Fabricant's tenure at FDA, the agency released a draft guidance on new dietary ingredient (NDI) notifications, which the agency has since said it will revise after consulting with industry representatives. FDA said it hopes to release the guidance sometime this year.
"Dr. Fabricant knows the Natural Products Association and the industry well, and his skills will only be enhanced by his work at the Food and Drug Administration," said Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), in a statement. "UNPA maintains its deep commitment to the full and intended implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act as well as of the Food Safety Modernization Act. As we look to the future, a number of additional important issues require the industry’s full attention, including building our base of political allies on Capitol Hill, the creation of a workable definition of natural, the future of non-GMO and organic standards, the integration of personalized lifestyle medicine, and building the next generation of leadership in the natural products industry.”
UNPA also expressed interest in learning about Fabricant's successor at FDA, which has yet to be announced.
Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), also commented on the announcement, welcoming Fabricant to NPA and wishing "Shaw the best in his future endeavors."
"AHPA considers NPA to be one of the leading trade associations representing the natural products industry, and greatly respects its unique role in addressing the needs of retailers in this trade," McGuffin said in a statement.