Scott Tips, JD
In a well-orchestrated attack that should fool no one, and that as usual occurs late in the week as people leave for their weekends, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has re-introduced his previously lapsed and ill-fated bill, the “Dietary Supplement Labeling Act” (then S.1310, and now as S.1425), in yet another attempt to shut down the dietary-supplement industry through a series of gradually suffocating laws, rules, and regulations that will do not one ounce of good but will instead price supplements out of the reach of poor and lower-income persons, at least of those supplements that remain should his bill be enacted.
After the media assault by Dr. Offit with his silly and obvious book attacking alternative medicine (see my blog “Do You Believe In Offit?” posting of July 4, 2013, as well as other public assaults on the safety of vitamins and their efficacy, the Powers that Be have decided that the American public has been sufficiently softened up so that anti-supplement forces (read Big Pharmaceutical companies and medical doctors) can come in for the kill with Tricky Dick Durbin and his S.1425.
As of this writing, the text of S.1425 has not yet been submitted for public review (expect it to be posted next week); but if it is a replay of his same-named bill introduced in 2011, then it is a disaster in the making for health-freedom. It would require that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put together a list of “dangerous” and “risky” dietary-supplement ingredients. The Institute of Medicine is expected to help the FDA in this task. Of course, this is purportedly all in the name of consumer protection but the real goal is to heap more and more red tape and costly rule adherence on dietary-supplement companies so as to either drive them out of the market or to price their products well beyond the reach of consumers, all without increasing safety to the public in any way.
Remember, dietary supplements are already among the safest consumer products in the World! In recent years, the Centers for Disease Control have reported zero deaths from consumption of dietary supplements and during the last 25 years, more deaths have been reported from bee stings, lightning strikes, or horse-riding accidents than from supplements. This compares extremely favorably to FDA-approved drugs, government-licensed hospitals, and government-licensed medical doctors that account for hundreds of thousands of deaths a year! Clearly, this legislation is nothing but job-killing, regulatory over-reach.
S.1425 will do nothing but give broad and arbitrary discretionary powers to FDA bureaucrats to eliminate effective and safe supplements that have been on the market and that are already more than amply regulated by the FDA under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, as subsequently amended with strict GMP rules and adverse-event reporting requirements.
This bill must be opposed and defeated, just as Durbin’s previous bill was defeated. Write your Senators now and demand that they oppose S.1425! You may find a sample letter at: http://www.thenhf.com/newsletters/Sample_Letter_S1425.doc
For Byron Richards’ July 2011 well-written article on Durbin’s and the FDA’s coordinated attacks on supplements in that year, go to: http://www.thenhf.com/article.php?id=2959
For an excellent short history of Dick Durbin’s attacks on supplements, go to:
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National Health Federation: Established in 1955, the National Health Federation is a consumer-education, health-freedom organization working to protect individuals’ rights to choose to consume healthy food, take supplements and use alternative therapies without unnecessary government restrictions. The NHF is the only such organization with recognized status at Codex meetings.
Scott Tips, JD is a California-licensed attorney, legal columnist and president and general counselor for the National Health Federation. He specializes in food-and-drug law and trademark law, but also engages in business litigation, general business law, and nonprofit organizations, with an international clientele.