Senate strikes down Durbin's dietary supplement amendment

Senate strikes down Durbin's dietary supplement amendment

Lobbying efforts paid off for dietary supplement manufacturers May 24, when the Senate voted to table an amendment that would have imposed needless regulation on the industry.

The U.S. Senate on May 24 voted to table an amendment that would have introduced new requirements for dietary supplement manufacturers—requirements the industry identified as unnecessary red tape.

Sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the amendment would have required supplement manufacturers to register all products and their ingredients with FDA within 30 days of introduction, reformulation or discontinuation. The amendment, part of the pending Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act, will not move forward for debate.

Speaking to Congress prior to the vote, supplement champion Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R-Utah) said the amendment "is based on the misguided presumption that the current regulatory framework for dietary supplements is flawed and that the FDA lacks authority to regulate these products." 

Hatch, co-author of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), also said the  Durbin amendment "serves to punish all responsible companies with its overreaching mandates," reported the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) in a press release.

Industry associations such as AHPA and others rallied to defeat the amendment this week. On May 24, all five trade associations issued a joint statement expressing united opposition. The associations included AHPA and:

  • Consumer Healthcare Products Association
  • Council for Responsible Nutrition
  • Natural Products Association
  • United Natural Products Alliance

Jeff Wright, president of NPA, called the Senate vote a "significant victory for the industry," but cautions that "it is important that we all remember that the regulation of dietary supplements remains a hot topic for members of Congress. We must remain engaged because these issues are likely to be revisited."

The defeated amendment is one more volley from Sen. Durbin to keep attention on the bill he introduced last year—S.1310, the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act, said Marc Brush, editor-in-chief of Nutrition Business Journal. Thus far, that bill remains a nonstarter on Capitol Hill, but few expect the Senator to retreat from his pursuit of greater oversight for the supplement industry. 

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