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Supplement industry experts gather to educate Congress on related issues


NEW YORK It is critical that the dietary supplement industry extol the benefit and value associated with supplementing for health and wellness, especially as today’s legislators determine what health care will look like tomorrow, and how patients will be incentivized into being more proactive around the pursuit of preventative health behaviors.


But just as important in today’s regulatory climate is defending the supplement industry as a predominantly responsible industry providing products based on sound science; and an industry that does not include companies that do not resort to the scare tactic du jour, like marketing a supplement “remedy” for the novel H1N1 virus, for example. Indeed, as the Food and Drug Administration steps up its efforts in publicly outing renegade companies purporting to field supplemental cancer “cures,” or that market products containing undeclared prescription drugs as supplements, only fuels the cry of supplement critics for greater legislation, including the need for pre-market approval.


The Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association have helped organize this quarterly mechanism to do just that — educate Congress leaders — through the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus. In addition to Polis, Congressional co-chairs of the caucus include Reps. Dan Burton, R-Ind., Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Robert Wexler, D-Fla.


That’s not all the industry’s done in the past few years to help clean up its image. For example, the industry’s long-awaited supplement-specific good manufacturing practices have been adopted and will be implemented in totality by this time next year, a measure that ought to ensure ingredient integrity. The industry’s support for the inclusion of dietary supplements in serious adverse event reporting positioned the industry not only as a responsible player in a health-focused arena, but should also serve to underscore the underlying safety of supplements. And the industry’s sponsoring of a third-party review of supplement advertising highlights the use of sound science to support many supplement structure/function claims.


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