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Durbin's Anti-Supplement Amendment Defeated

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate voted 77 to 20 to table an amendment (S.2127), which was sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) to amend the pending FDA Safety and Innovation Act (S.3187). By tabling the amendment, it was removed from consideration in the overall bill, which will be debated in the U.S. House of Representatives next week.

Industry associations and consumer rights organizations rallied the industry and consumers this week after Durbin unexpectedly introduced the amendment Tuesday afternoon. His proposal, which was derived from legislation he introduced last year, would have set new requirements for dietary supplement manufacturers to register all products and ingredients with FDA within 30 days of introduction, reformulation or discontinuation.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) spoke on the Senate Floor in advance of the vote on S.2127, stating the amendment was "based on the misguided presumption that the current regulatory framework for dietary supplements is flawed and that the FDA lacks authority to regulate these products." Hatch said instead of allowing FDA to utilize the resources it already has under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which Hatch co-authored, the Durbin Amendment "serves to punish all responsible companies with its overreaching mandates."

Organizations including the Natural Products Association (NPA), American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and Citizens for Health sent out urgent missives to constituents, urging them to contact their Senators to oppose Durbin's strategy. Michael McGuffin, AHPA president, commented: "I have worked with my colleagues from each of the other supplement trade associations over the last several days in this call for prompt and cooperative action, and I am pleased that this effort reaffirms the incredible unity of the dietary supplement industry when legislative threats to DSHEA emerge."

Mike Greene, vice president, government relations, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), said Current law provides FDA enough authority to protect consumers eliminating the need for duplicative measures such as Durbin’s amendment. "CRN was proud to work side by side with our industry champions Sens. Hatch and Harkin," he added. "Their continued support for our industry and belief in the basic tenets of DSHEA ensures consumers have access to safe and beneficial products.“

AndJeff Wright, president of the the Natural Prodcuts Association (NPA), called the defeat another victory for the industry. "It is important that we all remember that the regulation of dietary supplements remains a hot topic for members of Congress. We must remain engaged because these issues are likely to be revisited,” he reminded.

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