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Sen. Dick Durbin calls for dietary supplement reform in lame duck

Capitol Hill

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) on Wednesday urged his colleagues to include reform of the dietary supplement industry in an end-of-year omnibus appropriations bill.

He wants his fellow lawmakers to include provisions from the Dietary Supplement Listing Act, which he introduced in April along with Sen. Mike Braun (R-Indiana).

Durbin, who serves as the Democratic Whip, and others in favor of mandatory product listing (MPL) for dietary supplements have emphasized their view that FDA cannot effectively regulate the market if it doesn't know all the products and ingredients that are being sold in the U.S. 

“The legislation I have with Republican Senator Braun would require supplement companies to tell the FDA what products they’ve put on the shelf and what’s in them. Just that basic,” Durbin said in a speech on the Senate floor. “It’s a simple fix that would improve the safety of the supplement market.”

It’s unclear whether lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate who have oversight of FDA will have an appetite to include MPL in an end-of-the-year bill. In a Nov. 29 article, Axios quoted Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) as saying there is “no” chance of action on reforming FDA oversight of dietary supplements in the lame-duck session.

Representatives for Burr and the other three leaders of the committees in the House and Senate with jurisdiction over FDA did not respond to emails last month from Natural Products Insider seeking comment on Axios’ news report.

In his speech on the Senate floor, Durbin said his proposal is not a partisan one. 

“Polls show that nine out of ten Americans already believe that manufacturers should be required to list their products and their ingredients [with FDA]," Durbin added. 

MPL has proven to be a divisive issue within the dietary supplement industry, with some prominent stakeholders generally in favor of the concept and others opposed. In a recent letter to the leadership of committees with jurisdiction over FDA, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) requested lawmakers not include MPL in an end-of-year package.

“AHPA is not opposed, however, to considering the occasional need to amend the FD&CA [Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act] to revise FDA’s authorities over dietary supplements or otherwise to better ensure that these products are safe, properly manufactured and labeled, and widely accessible to the many Americans who use dietary supplements,” AHPA President Michael McGuffin wrote in the letter.

Many amendments to the FD&CA have been enacted since passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), McGuffin observed. He also acknowledged interest in the industry in considering and reviewing amendments to numerous provisions of the law affecting dietary supplement products.

“However, we strongly believe that these should be addressed collectively in the new 118th Congress through a process that fully engages all stakeholders with an interest in continuing and furthering Americans’ access to safe and well-regulated dietary supplements,” McGuffin wrote.




TAGS: Supplements
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