Three months ago I sounded the alarm about dangerous calls in the media to repeal the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). I explained then how the DSHEA actually protects our rights as consumers and why supplements should not be regulated in the same fashion as prescription drugs.
Now, Senator McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Dorgan (D-ND) have introduced a bill called the Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA) which dismantles key provisions of the DSHEA.
If passed, the FDA would be granted broad new powers to curtail the sale of vitamins, minerals, herbs, fish oils and other supplements along with the potency of those sold. In fact, many supplements already available would suddenly become illegal to purchase.
How’s that? The new legislation mandates all dietary supplements must undergo a new process of governmental review just to stay on the market. Just imagine having your glucosamine and chondroitin supplement suddenly pulled off the shelves simply because the FDA wishes to run it through the same multi-million or even billion dollar review process prescription drugs undergo.
Would it be fair to place supplements under the same testing restrictions as drugs? Not at all. Prescription drug companies can afford this costly process as their products are patent protected. Supplements, derived from food and other natural sources, don’t enjoy that luxury. This cost prohibitive requirement would cause supplements you rely upon to keep you healthy to either disappear or become much more costly.
The existing law already provides for supplement safety. Most supplement ingredients have already stood the test of time – in many cases, centuries of use. Supplements with any new ingredient must be reported to the FDA with scientific proofs before product release. The current DSHEA law strikes the right balance between product safety and the consumer’s right to choose the supplements that can improve their health.
Don’t confuse the mislabeled Dietary Supplement Safety Act with real safety. If passed, the new DSSA bill would interfere with your right to safe and affordable health supplements and should be vigorously opposed. Your health just may depend on it.