How can we better regulate supplements?

How can we better regulate supplements?

Editor's note: On the 20th anniversary of the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act, New Hope asked several experts to weigh in on the current regulatory atmosphere in the supplements category. Here, Alkemist Labs CEO Elan Sudberg lays out what he thinks about pre-market registration of products, stronger permissable claims tied to stronger science and pre-market GMP inspections.

Pre-market registration of products are a good idea overall, but cumbersome and logistically challenging for the industry to comply with unless FDA creates a simple path and meaningful final product from this idea.

Allowing stronger permissable claims tied to stronger science worries me a little. Over the years, the supplement industry has begun to mimic the pharmaceutical industry in everything from sexy novel ingredients—and marketing of such with pharmaceutical-like ad campaigns—to structure/function disease claims. Stronger permissible claims tied to stronger science may infer more scientific substantiation, which will strengthen the supplement industry, however I fear this will be only valuable to those companies who are, at heart, marketing companies donning the cloak of natural products.

I find pre-market GMP inspections this to be as unnecessary and meaningless as sending a test sample from a large batch of raw material you are planning to get but never actually testing the batch you got. What matters is what’s going to be in the hands of the consumers, not your intentions prior to that. I think more of the normal inspections will do the trick rather than pre-market inspections.

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