Dietary supplement amendments introduced to must-pass defense spending bill

Dietary supplement amendments introduced to must-pass defense spending bill

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) on June 3 filed three amendments to the Department of Defense 2016 spending bill that could impact the sale and use of supplements on military bases. The proposed amendments—to what is considered must-pass legislation—would require supplements sold on military bases to be verified by a third-party or comply with Defense Commissary Agency policies for inventory carried by commissaries, track military personnel's dietary supplement use, and record adverse events regarding dietary supplements use by military personnel. 

The American Herbal Products Association is in active communication with other industry associations and key Congressional offices and is working to ensure that U.S. military personnel do not face unnecessary restrictions that limit their personal and informed choices to use safe dietary supplements. 

Restricting supplements sold on military bases 

One proposed amendment (SA 1562) would require dietary supplements sold by a retail establishment operating on a military installation to: 

  • Be verified by an independent third party for recognized public standards of identity, purity, strength, and composition, and adherence to related process standards; or
  • Comply with Defense Commissary Agency policy on inventory carried by commissaries. 

The amendment would direct the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to identify the third parties that may provide verification. 

Monitoring military supplement use 

Another amendment (SA 1561) proposed by Sens. Blumenthal and Durbin would modify the electronic health record system of the military health system to include data on dietary supplement use by members of the Armed Forces. 

In addition to recording dietary supplement use, the record system would be required to generate standard reports on dietary supplement use that can be aggregated for analysis and issue automated alerts to signal a significant change in dietary supplement use. The Secretary of Defense would be required to establish a minimum requirement for each member of the Armed Forces to report use by of dietary supplements. Each Secretary of a military department would be able to establish a different policy, or continue an existing policy, if the policy meets at least the minimum requirement. 

Tracking adverse events 

Under another proposed amendment (SA 1560), the electronic health record system of the military health system would be required to record adverse events regarding dietary supplements, generate standard reports on adverse event data that can be aggregated for analysis, and issue automated alerts to signal a significant change in adverse event reporting or to signal a risk of interaction with a medication or other treatment. 

This amendment would also direct the Secretary of Defense to conduct outreach to educate military health system health care providers about the importance of submitting adverse events.

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