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Reaching Out to FDA to Improve Business

<p>Many supplement companies are afraid to contact FDA, but there are times when the agency can help companies improve their compliance and businesses before anything becomes an enforcement issue. Improved communication between industry and FDA can also help both parties understand how each other works.</p>

Many supplement companies are afraid to contact FDA. These companies would rather keep a low profile—not unlike many people who shy away from the IRS. Keeping FDA on a need-to-know basis for certain things might make sense, but there are times when the agency can help companies improve their compliance and businesses before anything becomes an enforcement issue. Also, improved communication between industry and FDA can help both parties understand how each other works.

“Unfortunately, people are afraid to communicate with the government," said Dan Fabricant, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association (NPA). “They look at it as having only a negative connotation." As the most recent director of FDA’s dietary supplement division, he saw firsthand the value of good communication between industry and agency. “You are going to, as a regulated industry, run into the regulators, so the better your experiences are with them, the better off your business will be." He likened it to the value of communication in other relationships and partnerships a business might have: better communication fosters better trust.

To think being silent prevents the agency’s radar from finding you is foolish. “This is the day and age of transparency," Fabricant reminded. “To think the government can’t find something out about your business … it’s kind of laughable."

The best firms utilize all opportunities to engage with FDA and reach out to the agency when needed. As with any business relationship, it helps to see partners on a frequent basis.

To read more about reaching out to FDA, download the article “A Date with the Boogeyman" in the INSIDER Content Library.

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