More than 70 high-level executives representing member companies of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the dietary supplement industry’s leading trade association, convened at the U.S. Capitol this week to urge Congress to pass the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (DASCA) of 2014. In addition, the delegation expressed its opposition to the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act (DSLA) and urged increased enforcement of existing legal requirements.
The meetings with legislators took place during CRN’s 11th annual Day on the Hill, the association’s executive legislative fly-in event. According to CRN’s Ingrid Lebert, director, government relations, who manages the day, “This was our most successful annual event to date, with the highest number of participants from CRN member companies and Congress.” In meetings with close to 60 congressional offices, CRN and its members emphasized the importance of passing DASCA to help protect consumers from illegal anabolic steroid products masquerading as dietary supplements. By making it easier for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to target new anabolic steroids as they enter the market, DASCA serves to protect the reputation of those responsible dietary supplement companies that provide consumers with legitimate, high-quality and beneficial supplements, including those used for sports nutrition and performance.
Conversely, industry leaders urged lawmakers to oppose DSLA, which would impose new burdens on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine and industry, noting it is duplicative of current laws and self-regulatory programs and would place unfair requirements on law-abiding, responsible companies while doing nothing to protect consumers from unscrupulous actors who already ignore the law. Participants reminded Congress that a regulatory framework is already in place that addresses DSLA provisions, that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) works, and that dietary supplements are safe, regulated and beneficial.
In addition, CRN shared information from the Frost & Sullivan economic report, “Smart Prevention – Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements,” which demonstrates that supplementation at preventive intake levels in high-risk populations can reduce the number of disease-associated medical events, representing the potential for hundreds of millions—and in some cases, billions—of dollars of savings. The report was funded through a grant from the CRN Foundation.
“CRN and its members are highly respected on Capitol Hill by legislators and their staff as responsible players in the dietary supplement industry—the good guys,” said Mike Greene, vice president, government relations, CRN. “CRN’s ‘Day on the Hill’ was a success in bringing senior level faces from trustworthy companies to sit down with their representatives and staff in Washington and reinforce the mainstream status of dietary supplements in our country. CRN and our member companies are committed to working with legislators and regulators to ensure the more than 150 million Americans who take dietary supplements continue to have access to safe and beneficial products.”
CRN’s members participating in the “Day on the Hill” enjoyed the recognition developed not only by their own companies’ upstanding practices, but also from CRN’s efforts. CRN President and CEO Steve Mister testified before Congress the week before during a Senate hearing on “Protecting Consumers from False and Deceptive Advertising of Weight-Loss Products,” and described “a tale of two industries,” in reference to the responsible companies following thelaws and the outliers that aren’t. In addition, this week CRN ran full-page ads in CQ Roll Call, National Journal Daily, and Politico, emphasizing the role of vitamins in healthy people’s lives.
“CRN’s Day on the Hill comes at a critical time for the dietary supplement industry,” said Kate Houston, director of government relations for Cargill, and chair of CRN’s Government Relations Committee. “After meeting today with dozens of key lawmakers, there’s no doubt that CRN members are making an impact.”