AHPA's Letter to the Editor Sets the Record Straight in Today's Boston Globe

Under the headline “Key distinction on FDA, supplements,” the Boston Globe today published American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) President Michael McGuffin’s letter to the editor responding to the paper’s recent editorial, “Police these pills and powders.”

In its Nov. 2 editorial, the Globe opines that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lacks adequate power to regulate dietary supplements. “Under the current law,” the Globe writes, “the FDA can take action against manufacturers of supplements with harmful ingredients only after there are reports of bad reactions among users.”

“In fact,” AHPA President McGuffin explains in his letter, “synthetic steroids are not allowed in supplements, and the FDA has issued 28 warning letters since 2004 against companies marketing such products. These actions were taken based not on adverse events, but on claims made on product labels and on FDA analyses.”

The Boston Globe editorial follows and references an Oct. 15 New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) opinion piece by Dr. Pieter Cohen, HarvardMedicalSchool. The NEJM piece, like the Globe editorial, fails to distinguish between dietary supplements and illegal drugs and alleges FDA does not have sufficient authority to regulate supplements. AHPA also submitted a letter to the editor of NEJM.

“Legally labeled dietary supplements are required to list every contained ingredient,” McGuffin concludes in his Boston Globe letter. “Any product that fails to do so is misbranded, and the FDA, under current law, can seize the product and issue warnings or bring criminal actions against its marketers.”

AHPA’s letter to the editor is published online at: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2009/11/13/key_distinction_on_fda_supplements/

All of AHPA’s recent letters to the editor are available on the AHPA Web site at: http://www.ahpa.org/Default.aspx?tabid=187

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal products industry. AHPA is comprised of domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbs and herbal products, including foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and nonprescription drugs. Founded in 1982, AHPA’s mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. Website: www.ahpa.org

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