Statement from Natural Products Association (NPA) Executive Director and CEO John Gay responding to a recent story about dietary supplements in the New York Times:
"The Natural Products Association has long advocated that consumers use dietary supplements as part of a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that supplements can alleviate nutritional deficiencies, boost immune systems, and improve or maintain overall health. Studies find that supplement usage could save billions in health care costs through a lower incidence of sickness and ailments. These are just some of the benefits of taking dietary supplements.
In fact, dietary supplements are safe and fully regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, or DSHEA. The Food and Drug Administration has all the authority it needs to regulate dietary supplements thanks to DSHEA. For example, the FDA requires a pre-market safety notification process for any new dietary ingredient meant to be marketed in a supplement. In addition, structure-function claims or health claims about supplements must be submitted to the FDA with a copy of the product label. Claims that are not truthful and misleading can result in regulatory action from either the FDA or the Federal Trade Commission. The FDA also can remove products from store shelves that it deems to be a health risk.
Anyone caught selling drugs that masquerade as supplements should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Selling products containing illegal substances is a crime. It is also illegal for any manufacturer to claim that their dietary supplements prevent, mitigate, cure or treat any disease condition. We urge anyone finding dietary supplements that are incorrectly labeled to report this to the FDA.
Indeed, NPA has joined with other dietary supplement trade associations in supporting the FDA in its efforts to eliminate drugs masquerading as supplements. Just last December, we endorsed the FDA’s new initiatives to hold accountable those who violate the law by illegally marketing harmful products they claim are dietary supplements but, in reality, contain undeclared or deceptively labeled ingredients that do not qualify as dietary supplements.
Furthermore, the industry itself has backed legislative measures to help regulators do their jobs more effectively. We have fought time and again for Congress and the administration to provide government agencies with additional resources they need to enforce the law. Within the past couple years, Congress provided a significant increase in funding, which led to a noticeable increase in enforcement. NPA welcomes increased enforcement and supports efforts to boost resources further.
It’s worth highlighting that under existing regulations, and with strong self-regulatory efforts, the U.S. supplement industry has an excellent safety record. It’s little wonder that half of all Americans use dietary supplements today. The bottom line is that, along with proper diet and exercise, dietary supplements can be an important part of maintaining and improving your health."
Natural Products Association
The Natural Products Association (NPA), founded in 1936, is the largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. NPA represents over 1,900 members accounting for more than 10,000 locations of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids. As the leading voice of the natural products industry, the NPA’s mission is to advocate for the rights of consumers to have access to products that will maintain and improve their health, and for the rights of retailers and suppliers to sell these products. Visit www.NPAInfo.org.