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ITC declines to take up Amarin case asking to prohibit importation of fish oils


WASHINGTON — One pharma company's attempt to shut down the import and use of fish oils in dietary supplements was halted earlier this week when the U.S. International Trade Commission declined to pursue the matter further.

Aimed at protecting its proprietary Vascepa (icosapent ethyl), Amarin filed an action with the ITC seeking a ban on the importation of omega-3 dietary supplements that are mainly comprised of the ester form of omega-3 called EPA.

Amarin requested that ITC issue a general exclusion order prohibiting the importation of the fish oils, claiming the unregulated offerings represent "injurious unfair competition" to Vascepa, which was approved by the FDA in July 2012 to reduce triglyceride levels in people with severely elevated levels of triglycerides.

"Amarin's complaint does not allege an unfair method of competition or an unfair act ... as required by the statute and the Commission's rules," Lisa Barton, secretary to the commission, wrote in a letter to the complainants earlier this week. Barton also noted that regulating the importation of fish oil supplements more appropriately falls under the perview of the Food and Drug Administration.

"This decision is a victory not only for legitimate manufacturers that sell legal fish oil supplements, but for consumers depending on accessible, affordable products that benefit their health and well-being," noted Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition. "Individual companies, industry trade associations and bipartisan voices from Capitol Hill maintained a strong, united presence on the front lines of opposition efforts, and we are pleased to see the proper jurisdiction of FDA respected and maintained.”


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