(Silver Spring, MD) -- The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed Michael Leavitt as the new Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Leavitt, a former Utah governor, has served as head of the Environmental Protection Agency since 2003
“Mike Leavitt acknowledged in his confirmation hearings that the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act is a good law, and that he values consumer choice in their healthcare options,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “This is an excellent start to what should be a positive relationship with the herb and dietary supplement industry.”
During Leavitt's confirmation hearings before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) asked his views of DSHEA. Leavitt replied, “It's clear to me that we have an obligation to assure safety, but at the same time to provide innovation and choice. While my approach will be rigor, I also recognize the value that's there and the fact that much thought has been put into it.”
Sen. Hatch also urged Leavitt to push completion of the pending dietary supplement good manufacturing practices.
“We trust that Mr. Leavitt will encourage the Food and Drug Administration to work to complete its implementation of DSHEA in a manner that is consistent with the Congressional intention in 1994,” McGuffin added.
Durbin on AERs
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), in this comments on the Senate floor before Leavitt's confirmation vote, noted that he had secured the new secretary's promise to review pending legislation that would mandate reporting of serious adverse events associated with dietary supplements.
“There should be a clearinghouse at the Food and Drug Administration for these manufacturers to provide data about the safety of their products,” Sen. Durbin said. “And most of the industry and consumer groups are on our side, so as we develop legislation this year, Administrator Leavitt has agreed to review it. I look forward to working with him.”
In June, 2004, Durbin agreed to work with Hatch and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), to craft legislation Time ran out on the last session before the legislation could be introduced.
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal supplement industry, the only trade association devoted solely to herbal issues. AHPA is the recognized leader in representing the responsible center of the botanical trade, and is comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products. AHPA’s mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of responsibility with respect to the way herbs are manufactured, labeled and sold. Website: www.ahpa.org