Industry Coalition Advises Against Use of Dietary Supplements as a Remedy For SARS

The trade associations of the dietary supplement industry – the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) and the Utah Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) – today issued the following statement to industry, media, regulatory authorities, and consumers:

The dietary supplement industry is keenly aware of public concern regarding SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and of the desire of the public to protect itself against this syndrome, which has led to serious illness and a number of deaths worldwide. While we support the responsible sale and use of health-promoting vitamins, minerals, herbs and other dietary supplements, we do not believe there are any dietary supplements that have been shown to prevent or treat SARS. In addition, federal law does not allow dietary supplements to claim to treat or prevent any diseases, including SARS.

We are therefore endorsing the following unified advisory for marketers and retailers, as well as for consumers of dietary supplements.

• Marketers and retailers of dietary supplements are urged to refuse to stock or sell any products that are presented as preventing or curing SARS, and
• Marketers and retailers should refrain from promoting any dietary supplement as a preventive, cure or treatment for SARS.
• Anyone who believes they may have SARS or may have come in contact with it should immediately contact a healthcare professional.

There are dietary supplements that have much to offer in terms of enhancing general immune function and disease resistance. However, therapies for the prevention or treatment of SARS should only be recommended by qualified healthcare professionals or public health authorities.

The organizations supporting this advisory represent the majority of dietary supplement manufacturers. Each of the associations and its member companies remain committed to providing the American public with high quality products for supporting personal health and permitting “self-care” choices. Each of the associations is also committed to recognizing that there are some health conditions for which the choice of self-care should be actively discouraged. The current global outbreak of SARS is such a condition.


American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Michael McGuffin, President
AHPA exists to serve its members by promoting the responsible commerce of products that contain herbs and that are used to enhance health and the quality of life.

Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), Linda Suydam, President
CHPA is the 122-year-old national trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplement products.

Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Annette Dickinson, Ph.D., President
CRN has represented key manufacturers of dietary supplement ingredients and products for 30 years, providing its member companies with regulatory guidance, scientific information on the benefits and safety of dietary supplements, public relations expertise, and legislative support.

National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), David Seckman, Executive Director and CEO
NNFA was founded in 1936 and represents the interests of some 5,000 retailers, manufacturers, and distributors of natural products, including health foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.

Utah Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), Loren Israelsen
UNPA was organized in 1991 and represents the interests of the $3 billion dietary supplement industry based in Utah.

AHPA – Robin Gellman (301) 588-1171 x.107
CHPA – Donna Edenhart (202) 429-9260
CRN – Judy Blatman (202) 204-7962
NNFA – Tracy Taylor (949) 622-6272 x. 245
UNPA – Loren Israelsen (801) 474-2572

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