In response to a segment titled “In Harm’s Way” that aired last night on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, issued the following statement:
Statement by Steve Mister, president and CEO, CRN: “More than two thirds of American adults—including those in the military—take dietary supplements every year, and the overwhelming majority do so safely. We understand those in the military, in particular, need to be in the best physical shape possible to withstand the stress and rigor of defending our country, and numerous dietary supplements can help maintain and improve good health. However, we share the concerns raised by HBO’s segment last night about stimulant ingredients like DMAA, and CRN has expressed support for FDA’s position that DMAA and similar ingredients are illegal because they lack adequate evidence of safety and present unreasonable health risks.
On the other hand, we are disappointed that HBO ignored our requests to provide perspective from the mainstream, responsible dietary supplement industry as we would have confirmed our position that the products the segment focused on are being illegally marketed as dietary supplements in violation of the requirements for new ingredients. Further, we would have provided accurate information and a more balanced perspective of the numerous provisions in the law, added with the passage of DSHEA and beyond, that have given FDA more authority than it previously had to remove unsafe products from the market and ample tools to enforce the law. To that end, we are concerned that FDA has not always acted as swiftly as appropriate to remove from the market these kinds of questionable products, and we continue to urge for further resources, financial and otherwise, for FDA to more fully enforce the law.
Critics of dietary supplement regulation tend to focus on pre-market approval as the only option, ignoring the fact that pre-market approval is not a full-proof method to safety, nor is it a viable option for the vast majority of products in our industry that don’t receive the same patent protection and financial incentives as pharmaceutical products. Our industry is open to dialoguing with those who are serious—and realistic—about finding ways to avoid the kinds of tragedies shown in this segment in the future.”