A number of industry initiatives have recently been formed to protect the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act through lobbying and education efforts. Many in the industry fear that DSHEA is threatened by recent FDA actions, such as the banning of ephedra, and that congressional support for the law has declined.
On May 6, industry leaders announced the formation of the Coalition to Preserve DSHEA, a nonprofit organization that was created specifically to enhance the industry's presence on Capitol Hill and to work there for favorable public policies. The chief executive officer of the new coalition is David Seckman, executive director/CEO of the National Nutritional Foods Association.
Since its formation, the organization has already submitted a petition to FDA that challenges the agency's recent interpretation of the statutory definition of "dietary supplement" and has held meetings on Capitol Hill to protect the supplement DHEA.
In a related action, Citizens for Health has teamed with NOW Foods Inc. to organize Herbal Alternatives, an informative issue briefing for members of Congress to be held June 17 in Washington, D.C. Herbal expert James Duke will present scientific evidence supporting the efficacy and safety of herbal remedies. Citizens for Health has also announced a national grass-roots effort to mobilize natural products consumers to contact their congressional representatives and urge them to attend the briefing. Consumers can send letters by visiting www.citizens.org.
On May 6, the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance held a fund-raising dinner at the SupplySide East trade show in Baltimore, raising $50,000 to support DSEA projects, including a monthly education effort targeting members of Congress.
"I think it's positive that a number of different entities within the industry are working to bring these issues to the forefront and make sure we're well-positioned on Capitol Hill," Seckman said. "These initiatives reflect a greater emphasis on the need for increased advocacy in Washington, D.C."