This past week’s CRN annual conference in Tucson, Arizona, entitled ‘Looking Forward to the Future’ indicates the trade association has stepped up to the plate in challenging times and has certainly gotten a hit. It is apparent that CRN has recognized both need and opportunity to take a prominent leadership position, and has effectively done so.
The conference, attended by approximately 150 members and industry participants, celebrated the 30th anniversary of CRN, and included numerous relevant business presentations in addition to a summary of CRN and its committees’ activities over the past year.
CRN has five standing committees: Botanicals / Quality Standards Committee, Government Relations, International Trade and Market Development, Media Relations and Regulatory Affairs. It also has sub-committees, task forces or working groups focused on Industry Research, Sports Nutrition, Product Stewardship and the Omega-3 category of products.
Each of the committees updated the audience on its efforts and activities, and highlights included a comprehensive two-part (300 page) response to the FDA regarding the proposed GMP rule, international dialogue regarding both Codex and EU supplements issues, and an active media relations and government outreach program as well as frequent dialogue at both national and state level. Efforts at developing a Product Stewardship program were outlined with the intention of making this an industry-wide initiative. To date 18 companies have signed on to this initiative in a program designed to show industry leadership, develop scientifically supported standards and practices, implement a voluntary code of management practice and to develop clear, published guidelines defining quality.
In their State of the Industry presentation, CRN President Annette Dickinson and Board Chairman Byron Johnson outlined plans and intentions for the association and industry, referring specifically to ‘getting rid of the controversial issues’ and ‘fixing ourselves’. CRN’s GMP response was an extremely participative one, and the state of the industry address referred to FDA’s ‘disappointing proposed rule’. CRN indicated its intention to support the FDA versus ephedra and that it would also support mandatory requirements for reporting of serious adverse events. The address reiterated CRN’s commitment to forge alliances, educate health professionals and to partner with agencies wherever and whenever possible.
Guest presenters spoke about a range of topics including how to increase the chance of making an effective point with media and the importance of preparation and the desired ‘sound bite’ you wanted to provide.