- TAKE ACTION AND TELL YOUR SENATOR NOT TO CO-SPONSOR THIS
- Senator McCain's bill is called The Dietary Supplement
Safety Act (DSSA). It would repeal key sections of the Dietary Supplement
Health and Education Act (DSHEA). DSHEA protects supplements if 1) they
are food products that have been in the food supply and not chemically
altered or 2) if they were sold as supplements prior to 1994, the year
that DSHEA was passed. If a supplement fits one of these two descriptions,
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot arbitrarily ban it or reclassify
it as a drug.
- These protections are far from perfect. They discourage
companies from developing new forms of supplements. New supplements may
be arbitrarily banned by the FDA or adopted by drug companies in a way
that precludes their further sale as supplements.
- McCain's bill would wipe out even the minimal protections
contained in DSHEA. It would give the FDA full discretion and power to
compile a discreet list of supplements allowed to remain on the market
while banning all others.
- Everyone knows that the FDA is friendly to drug companies
(which pay its bills and provide good revolving door jobs) and hostile
to supplement companies. Under this bill, this same Agency could quite
arbitrarily ban any supplement it wished or turn it over to drug companies
to be developed as a drug and sold for multiples of its price as a supplement.
- The FDA will like this because it believes that it can
more easily control a few industry giants. But isn't it more likely that
the industry giants will eventually gain control over the FDA?
- The FDA is already misusing the adverse event reporting
process that exists. Drugs rack up thousands of adverse event reports without
any action. Just recently, the FDA yanked from the market a supplement
product based on just a couple of alleged adverse event reports without
even allowing the company (an old and respected firm) to provide any counter-evidence
- The bill also allows the FDA to yank a product (at the
company's expense) if there is a "reasonable probability" that
it is "adulterated" or "misbranded". Let's remember
that "adulterated" could mean there is a minor record keeping
error on the producer's part and "misbranded" can mean that the
producer simply tells the truth about the product. An "adulterated"
and "misbranded" supplement in Orwellian FDA speak may actually
be both completely safe and effective.
- We must prevent this bill from gaining traction! Protect
your access to supplements by contacting your senators today and asking
them NOT to co-sponsor the Dietary Supplement Safety Act but rather to
- TAKE ACTION
- McCain's Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA) appears
to be supported by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which is funded by
major league sports teams including baseball, football and others. The
recent suspensions of NFL and other professional sports figures is much
in the news, and the goal of the sports industry appears to be to shift
the spotlight from their players to the supplements industry. In his comments,
Senator McCain cited six NFL players recently suspended for testing positive
for banned substances and purportedly exposed to these substances through
- The problem here of course is one of illegal sale and
use of steroids. So why dismantle the supplement industry in order to control
already illegal substances?
- The FDA currently has complete and total authority to
stop illegal steroids and, more broadly, to regulate dietary supplements.
If the agency were doing its job, it could and would have prevented the
sale of illegal steroids. The answer to this problem is not to give FDA
more power. The Agency simply needs to do it's job.
- TAKE ACTION
- Why would a bill be offered to solve an illegal steroid
problem that does not really address the steroid problem but instead gives
the FDA complete and arbitrary control over all supplements? The answer
- There are a lot of vested interests which are threatened
by supplements. Drug companies do not like them because they represent
a low cost, safer, and often more effective alternative to drugs. The FDA
does not like them because supplements do not come through the FDA approval
process and therefore do not support the FDA budget.
- Why not simply require that supplements be brought through
the FDA's drug approval process? Wouldn't that create a level playing field?
- That is probably the argument that Senator McCain has
been sold. But it is a completely false argument. The FDA drug approval
process costs as much as a billion dollars. It is not economically feasible
to spend such vast sums on substances that are not protected by patent,
and natural substances cannot legally be patented.
- This is the great "Catch 22" of American medicine.
The FDA, which is supposed to guard and promote our health, is hostile
to the kind of natural medicine-based on diet, supplements, and exercise-that
represents the real future of healthcare. The Agency has either been captured
by drug interests or is trapped in a catastrophically expensive, toxic,
and ineffective patented-drug model.
- Senator McCain has no doubt offered this bill in good
faith. But he has been sold a bill of goods by special interests. And he
has been naïve enough not to know that he is being used.
- TAKE ACTION
- This exceptionally bad bill also requires the reporting
of all minor adverse events related to supplements. This is in addition
to the already existing requirement to report adverse events. This will
further stack the deck against small supplement companies by creating new,
unnecessary, even more cumbersome, and of course very expensive administrative
hurdles. The result: the consolidation of the supplement industry into
a few big companies.If passed, this bill will likely result in the disappearance
from store shelves of many supplements currently on the market. In addition
to fewer supplements, there would likely be much lower doses available.
Unbridled authority would be handed to the FDA, an agency that needs a
top to bottom overhaul, not ever more power over our lives.
- If McCain's bill passes, we can look to Europe for a
snapshot of what we may be in for: EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority,
has sharply reduced the list of available supplements and is in process
of reducing potencies to ridiculous levels, such as less beta carotene
than can be found in half of a large carrot. Europeans already look to
the US to obtain their dietary supplements. If this bill passes, where
will we obtain ours?
- Please take action immediately. Tell your senators NOT
to co- sponsor this legislation and to do everything in their power to
defeat it. Then forward this to your friends and family and ask then to
do the same!
- Gretchen DuBeau
- Legal Director, ANH Int.
- Executive Director, ANH-USA