The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has launched a new website called KeepSupplementsClean.org, which is designed to keep the dietary supplement industry informed on issues related to illegal tainted products being sold as dietary supplements.
The website supports heightened efforts by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and industry to address significant public health problems posed by products that are illegally marketed as dietary supplements but contain the same active ingredients as FDA-approved drugs or other ingredients that do not qualify as dietary ingredients.
AHPA was one of the several trade associations that met with FDA in late 2010 to discuss the issue of tainted products that masquerade as supplements. During these meetings, the agency and the industry recognized a shared interest in addressing the illegal marketing of products that contain undisclosed and illegal ingredients. This agreement led to public expressions of support by the trade to collaborate with the agency to educate the industry about this problem and to help develop new strategies to combat it, as announced during a press conference held by FDA on December 15, 2010.
The website identifies the product categories that are most susceptible to adulteration: weight loss, sexual enhancement and body building, categories in which consumers may be looking for immediate or dramatic results, and provides direct links to the communications that FDA has prepared for each of these categories. It also lists all related enforcement actions and recalls. These lists will be updated each time FDA announces a new enforcement action or recall. In addition, information is provided for similar tainted products identified in other countries, as it is important to understand that this is an international problem.
Additionally, KeepSupplementsClean.org provides a link to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg's letter of December 15, 2010, to manufacturers of dietary supplements, and highlights the key points in that letter.
Although the KeepSupplementsClean.org website is targeted primarily to the trade, AHPA believes that consumers will also utilize the resources available on the website. The association has therefore also included information for consumers, derived from the agency's messages to potential consumers of products in these classes.
"It was my belief last December that we should not assume that this problem would suddenly be resolved simply by industry's joint expression of interest in having it resolved. AHPA made a commitment at that time--to FDA as well as to consumers who want safe products and to supplement companies that comply with the law--to maintain attention on this problem as long as is necessary," said AHPA president Michael McGuffin. "Our creation of the KeepSupplementsClean website is intended to keep this commitment."
About the American Herbal Products Association
The American Herbal Products Association is the national trade association for and the 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 botanical and herbal products, including foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and non-prescription drugs. Founded in 1982, AHPA's mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. www.ahpa.org