Senator McCain has filed a new bill that attacks your access to supplements and would repeal key sections of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.
Online PR News – 05-February-2010 – – Washington, DC: Senator John McCain has introduced a bill called The Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA). DSSA would repeal key sections of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and significantly diminish access to a broad range of dietary supplements, according to the Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA).
DSHEA protects supplements if 1) they are food products that have been in the food supply and not chemically altered or 2) if they were sold as supplements prior to 1994, the year that DSHEA was passed. If a supplement fits one of these two descriptions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot arbitrarily ban it or reclassify it as a drug. McCain’s bill would repeal these protections and instead give the FDA full discretion and power to compile a discreet list of supplements allowed to remain on the market while banning all others.
McCain’s bill appears to be modeled after the European approach. EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, has sharply reduced the list of available supplements and is in process of reducing potencies to lower levels, such as less beta carotene than can be found in half of a large carrot.
“Europeans already look to the US to obtain their dietary supplements. If this bill passes, where will we obtain ours?”, asked Gretchen DuBeau, executive director for ANH-USA.
This bill also requires the reporting of all minor adverse events related to supplements. This is in addition to the already existing requirement to report adverse events.
According to DuBeau, the FDA is already misusing the adverse event reporting process that exists. For example, the FDA just recently yanked from the market a supplement product based on just a couple of alleged adverse event reports without allowing the company (an established and respected firm) to provide any counter-evidence or counter-argument.
“When one acknowledges that drugs sometimes rack up thousands of adverse event reports without any action by the FDA, while supplements are targeted after one or two reports, it becomes obvious that the FDA plays favorites”, said DuBeau. “Additional adverse event reporting for minor issues would provide further arsenal for what appears to be FDA’s personal war against the natural health industry.”
The bill also allows the FDA to pull a product, at the company’s expense, from the market, if there is a “reasonable probability” that it is “adulterated” or “misbranded”. The definition of “adulterated” is broad, and can mean there is a minor record keeping error on the producer’s part. “Misbranded” is also broadly defined, and can mean that the producer shares truthful information about the health benefits of the product. “An “adulterated” and “misbranded” supplement in Orwellian FDA speak may actually be both completely safe and effective”, said DuBeau.
“If passed as written, this bill would likely result in the disappearance from store shelves of many supplements currently on the market, and unbridled authority would be handed to the FDA, an agency that needs a top to bottom overhaul, not ever more power over our lives,” added DuBeau.
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NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
About the Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA):
ANH-USA is part of an international organization dedicated to promoting sustainable healthcare and freedom of choice in healthcare through good science and good law. We protect the right of natural-health practitioners to practice and the right of consumers to choose the healthcare options they prefer by lobbying Congress and state legislatures; educating the public, press, and decision-makers about integrative medicine; initiating legal actions; and joining and forming significant coalitions. As a membership-based organization, we unite consumers, practitioners, and industry to speak with a common voice and have worked since 1992 to shift the medical paradigm from an exclusive focus on surgery, drugs and other conventional techniques to an “integrative” approach incorporating food, dietary supplements and lifestyle changes.