June 21, 2013
SILVER SPRING, Md.The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is sending letters to media outlet editors to correct articles with inaccurate information portraying the herbal products industry as "loosely regulated" and using substantial resources to oppose regulation.
The negative media coverage was sparked by Paul Offit, who is promoting his new book, "Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine." The book is critical of alternative medicine (including herbal supplements and vitamins), and it has been covered by the New York Times, USA Today and CNN, among others.
Many news outlets are repeating claims by Offit and other prominent herbal product critics such as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., without researching the accuracy of these claims or offering a counterpoint from the industry.
"In reality, numerous regulationsincluding facility registration, product claims, manufacturing practices and serious adverse event reporting, among othersdictate what supplement companies must do to comply with the law," AHPA president Michael McGuffin said in a letter to the editor of USA Today. "While AHPA supports efforts to inform readers about alternative medicine, including dietary supplements, inaccurate information is a disservice. In the future, I hope you will perform additional due diligence to ensure more accurate and unbiased articles."
AHPA is sending similar letters to the editors of other media outlets running articles that do not accurately portray the herbal products industry. AHPA will continue to monitor media coverage of Offit and his book and respond to articles when appropriate.
AHPA has a history of helping supplement manufacturers make sure their products are safe, and it recently released a new safety resource for botanical supplements.
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