The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announces a new plan for policy improvement of dietary supplement regulation. FDA made this announcement on 11 February 2019.
FDA is all set to strengthen the law for dietary supplements. Dietary supplements are substances that add nutrition to your diet. Dietary supplements are available in many forms like capsules, powder, pills, or liquids.
These supplements contain herbs, vitamins, minerals, or fibers which add nutrition value to your regular diet. Dietary supplements are commonly used worldwide. There are certain benefits to some of the supplements being available in the market, whereas some supplements are proving false hope to people.
In 1994 the US passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) to regulate the FDA’s authority for dietary supplements. Since then the FDA has been working to ensure consumers are using high quality and safe supplements. FDA has also been working to protect people from the dangers of the products which do not meet the FDA’s guidelines but are still promoted in the market.
Dietary supplements market was once said to be a $4million (approx. ₹4 crore) industry with about 4,000 different products. It has been growing at a pace that now it is said to be a $40 million (approx. ₹28.54 crore) industry with 50,000 different products.
As the demand for supplements has grown over the years, so has the number of companies in the market. There are some organizations who are marketing products which are dangerous or making false claims about the health benefits of these products.
Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act enforces a number of guidelines and requirements on manufacturers and labeling of the dietary supplements. There are a few organizations who exploit these rules and mislead consumers.
Scott Gottlieb, the FDA Commissioner in his official statement claims that new measures will be taken up by the FDA to ensure that high quality of supplements is consumed by people. FDA will communicate with the public whenever there is a concern about any dietary supplement available in the market.
The statement also includes that the FDA will also ensure product safety and will engage in public dialogue to get proper feedback from dietary supplement stakeholders.
Scott Gottlieb said, “One of my top goals is ensuring that we achieve the right balance between preserving consumers’ access to lawful supplements, while still upholding our solemn obligation to protect the public from unsafe and unlawful products, and holding accountable those actors who are unable or unwilling to comply with the requirements of the law.”
Recently on 11 February 2019 FDA issued warning letters to 17 companies who were illegally selling dietary supplements to people and claiming to treat Alzheimer’s and a number of other serious diseases.
In the year 2018, FDA took action against organizations which were illegally claiming to cure opioid addiction to people. In the year 2017, FDA also took action against companies claiming to cure cancer by selling supplements to people.
FDA will soon plan a public meeting in spring on the topic of responsible innovation in the dietary supplement industry. FDA also invites all its stakeholders to share their opinions on how the FDA can strengthen the dietary supplement program for the future.