Rep. Waxman, Supplement Foe, to Retire After 40 Years

According to the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA),  Rep. Henry Waxman opposed the earliest drafts of legislation that became the landmark Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

WASHINGTONRep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who has worked on Capitol Hill for four decades, on Thursday announced plans to retire at the end of the year.

The Congressman, who was elected to the House in 1974, cited a number of achievements over the years ranging from legislation governing FDA oversight of tobacco products to the protection of nursing home patients to the controversial Affordable Care Act.

The dietary supplement industry isn't exactly mourning Waxman's pending retirement. According to the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Waxman opposed the earliest drafts of legislation that became the landmark Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). He later introduced bills that the industry opposed, including a requirement that supplement manufacturers register their products with the FDA semi-annually, according to AHPA.  

"As policy, DSHEA has been every bit as harmful as we feared, demonstrating anew that any market lacking regulation or the need to ensure safety quickly sinks to the lowest common denominator," Waxman wrote in a 2009 book, "The Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works."  

In a statement, AHPA President Michael McGuffin declared Waxman's "unwillingness to accept that DSHEA is a good law will be his primary legacy in the supplement industry."

But the lawmaker is revered in Washington, especially among the left, as a man with many accomplishments.

"Thanks to Henrys leadership, Americans breathe cleaner air, drink cleaner water, eat safer food, purchase safer products, and, finally, have access to quality, affordable healthcare," President Obama said in a statement. "Today, he continues to advocate tirelessly on behalf of Los Angeles and California as he leads efforts to address a changing climate and make sure every American has the economic security that comes with health insurance. Henry will leave behind a legacy as an extraordinary public servant and one of the most accomplished legislators of his or any era."

In an article announcing his retirement, the Washington Post dubbed the 74-year-old Waxman "one of the most prolific and successful lawmakers of modern times".

In a statement announcing his retirement, Waxman said he worked across the aisle to achieve consensus on bills including enactment of legislation "strengthening FDA's authority to stop dangerous drug compounding and to track pharmaceuticals through the supply chain."

Still, he gave a parting blow to the GOP and a prognostication that his party would take back the House: "House Republicans have no compelling vision for the future. The public understands this, and I am confident that the Democrats can regain control of the House."

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